6 Ways To Be A Tourist In Your Own City (And Tame Your Wanderlust)

Explore your city by bike, or other mode of transportation!

Once you’re bitten by the travel bug, it can be hard to think about anything but your next trip and how to check the next item off your bucket list- much less appreciate the town you live in. For most people, it’s not possible to just get up and go on a whim. If that’s the case for you, why not try to tame those feelings of wanderlust by exploring what’s in your own backyard? Today, I’m sharing my tips on how to be a tourist in your own city!

It’s easy to get stuck in a routine and lose that excitement you once had about your beloved town. We take for granted everything around us, and assume that we’ll get around to seeing it all…eventually. Trust me, it can happen to anyone, anywhere. I studied in Rome for 4 months and got so used to my surroundings by the end of the 2nd month that I had to leave without checking off everything that I had wanted to see and do. Learn from my mistake and follow these tips to find affordable, unexpected, and eye opening new parts of your own back yard.

Sift through Yelp or ask around for a new restaurant to try

1. Street by Street
Starting off with one of my favorite methods, this one is a potentially long-term option that can take months, if not years depending on the size of your town. Start by opening up Google Maps or just thinking of a street in your city. Are there any restaurants, stores, or recreational activities along that road? The next time you go out for dinner or look for a friend’s birthday gift, go somewhere on that street that you’ve never been to before. Keep going until you’ve fully explored the entire length of the road (within city lines). Then choose another road at random or continue along a connecting street. Continue this over time until you’ve covered the whole neighborhood, then the whole town! This activity can easily be extended to nearby areas if you want!

2. Think Like a Tourist
What do you do when you’re visiting a new place? Maybe you look online for reviews and activities on sites like TripAdvisor, scroll through Pinterest, contact a travel agency, or ask hotel concierge for their recommendations. Pretend you actually are on an exotic trip and explore like you would abroad! Go to the museums, visit the touristic landmarks, eat at the must-try restaurants! 

3. Consult Your Friends
This one’s a given- ask your friends for their recommendations of hidden gems in town. Your friends most likely have similar interests as you, or at least would know what you’d enjoy.  Post on Facebook or other social media platforms as well! You never know if your coworker’s boyfriend’s roommate will introduce you to your new favorite brewery. 

Grab a friend and get outside!

4. Get Outside
No matter where in the world you’re located, chances are high that there’s at least three outdoor activities or attractions nearby. Check out local bike or hiking trails, go tubing down the river, rent kayaks, go horseback riding, find a state park, take a dip in the ocean or lake- the possibilities are endless! 

5. Hit the Road, Jack

This might seem simple, but that’s the beauty of it! Grab a friend, hop in the car, turn on a perfect driving playlist, and just go! Drive through neighborhoods you don’t frequent, turn down quaint side streets, and keep going until you either get lost or find your way home. Bonus points if you stop at a new little joint for coffee and a snack. 

6.  Get There Differently

If you always go to the same places using the same route and same mode of transportation, consider changing it up! Instead of driving to the grocery store, take the bus or tram. Bike or walk to the coffee shop- rollerblade, even! Getting around town in a method different from how you normally would just might have you seeing your surroundings with a new perspective! 

There you have it! 6 ways to be a tourist in your own city and cure at least a little of of your unshakable wanderlust…for now! Plus, you can also use these on your travels as you explore new cities and places, not just your hometown! Have you tried any of these tips before, or do you have your own way of exploring what’s right in your backyard?