Being a tourist in your own town - GJ Inc.

Being a tourist in your own town

"The impulse to travel is one of the hopeful symptoms of life" ~ Agnes Repplier

If you’re anything like us, your travel itch is almost always asking for your attention. One of my (Janelle’s) favorite things to do is research and plan for upcoming adventures - especially if they’re meant to be shared with others. Bonus if some (or all) of the adventures are a surprise for those joining me on the adventure.

One of our favorite things about running online memberships is the time and location freedom they afford. That said, even with the flexibility and freedom, sometimes life’s circumstances prevent the longer distance travels and adventures.

Good news - you can have a great time without needing to travel far simply by being a tourist and exploring your own town.

Need some inspiration or tips? We’ve got a few.

Get up for sunrise
Go explore with the morning sun before the city wakes up. If your town has a popular sunrise or sunset spot for tourists that you’ve never been to, give it a go and see what it’s like.

Pick an attraction or activity from any local hotel or motel lobby brochure kiosk
Ask someone behind a desk for what they recommend to tourists who have one day to spend in your city or town. And then be sure and call and ask if there’s a discount for locals or residents (you’d be surprised to learn how many places offer discounts like that!).

Visit a lookout point
Often something we seek out when visiting other places, yet neglected in our own town. Does your town or city have a lookout point that’s popular among tourists? Check it out for yourself – maybe it will give you a new appreciation for the beauty of your city.

Move about your surroundings in a new way
Consider joining a free walking tour, take a tour on a bus or some other form of transportation. Free walking tours are perfect because they usually combine history and local tips. You’ll see your city with fresh eyes when learning about interesting points and fun historical facts. Bonus points if you can find — and take — a Segway tour or rent a motorized or regular bike and get a list from others of places to explore

Seek out the popular Instagram spots
Nowadays basically every city and town has (in)famous Instagram spots. On one of my more recent adventures I had one day and I did this very thing. I was pleasantly surprised with the diversity and unique gems I got to explore by going this route. Whether it’s a city sign, a viewpoint or some other beautiful backdrop, places where tourists flock for photos may be totally off a local’s radar.

Get a friend to show you around like you’re a tourist
I recognize not everyone gets a little extra giddy when given an opportunity to be a tour guide, but I bet you have at least one friend who loves showing visitors around. Call him/her up and ask them to take you to some of their favorites places that make the city you live in special! They may take you to a place you would have never thought about visiting.

Eat at the most touristy restaurant
Are there venues in your town or city that tourists love? If you can’t think of any, check TripAdvisor or other online sources that list the “must see/do” lists put together for your town.

Play tourist and take yourself out for a meal to see what all the fuss is about. Alternatively, you can order takeaway or delivery. This is the perfect way to champion small restaurant and cafe businesses that are struggling with the downturn in tourism. While you’re expanding the horizons of your tastebuds, take a look around when you get there. A lot of the touristy spots actually have cool history to them, with old photos decorating the walls and stories about your town waiting to be discovered. You may even be surprised to find part of your own story in them! True story: my grandfather was a legend in the town I grew up in and I often found him in town photos, newspaper articles and even part of schoolmate’s projects and reports.

Do something outdoors that only your city can offer
Is your neck of the woods known for fly fishing? Do it. Your city the home to the world’s largest urban bat colony? See it. Is your areas known for sea turtle nests, moonlight hikes, bioluminescent kayaking or rocket launches? Make a point to see or do them. Tons of farms open their “doors” during particularly lovely parts of the seasons. Take advantage! Is there a public fountain or water feature that you can take the kids to? Have fun! Chances are there’s something outdoorsy your city does well and promotes to tourists; discover it.

Get out there, have fun and explore your town.

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