5 Ways to be a tourist in your own city

Ebonee Jumping

The other day I was reading “52 Places to Go in 2019” on the NY Times Travel page and several places in the U.S. were part of the top 20 places to visit in the WORLD.  

Curious to see which places were included in the top 20 list, according to the NY Times, here they are:

#1 Puerto Rico

#3 Santa Barbara, California

#12 Williamsburg, Virginia

#13 Las Vegas, Nevada

I’ve been to two places on this list: Puerto Rico and Santa Barbara, California. And I’m currently based in Williamsburg, Virginia. I always find it interesting to see Williamsburg, the city I grew up in, appear on these lists. I’ve been back home for almost 2 years now and sometimes I forget that it’s a huge tourist attraction.

I love traveling and exploring different cities. I’ve been to a lot of different countries and cities around the world. Reading the NY Times article made me realize just how often we forget the beauty of things in our own backyard.

Every year, usually around late March/early April, Williamsburg is filled with tour buses. It’s crazy to think that people travel from all over the world to come here. I’ve lived in Williamsburg for 17 years and the city has changed so much since I first moved here with my family. I explored the city somewhat when we first moved here, but not nearly as much as I do when I visit other cities.

When I lived in NYC it was the same thing. (Btw, NYC also made the list. It came in at #31) I lived in the city for almost five years and there are so many things I didn’t do when I lived there. For instance, I never went to the Statue of Liberty or the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center. People travel from all over the world to visit NYC and see these and other attractions as well.  

Usually when I travel, one of the first things I do when I get to a new city is taking a tour around the city to learn about the city’s history, main attractions, and fun neighborhoods…which are also things you can do in your own city.

Here’s are some ways you can explore your city like a tourist:

1.Airbnb Experiences

I’ve been hearing a lot about Airbnb experiences, mainly from influencers on Instagram, and how amazing they are. Airbnb experiences are tours or events created by locals in a particular area. You can search and book them the same way you’d book your Airbnb accommodations. The only caveat to this is they’re not in every city. But you can find them in most cities. And if it’s not in your city, maybe you can create one. 🙂

2.Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tours

I know this one is cliche. But it’s actually one of my favorite ways to see the city. Here’s why, they’re typically inexpensive, they cover a lot of ground by taking you all over a city, and often times you can purchase multi-day passes. I’ve taken Hop-on-Hop-off bus tours in LA (U.S.), Florence (Italy), and Barcelona (Spain). They’re not in every city but if it’s in your city I recommend trying it out.

3.Other Locally curated tours

I really enjoy these because it’s a great way to learn about a city since tours are taught by locals who know it very well and may be able to provide a different perspective of the city you grew up in.

4.Travel blogs

Travel blogs, like this one, are full of tips and sometimes free travel guides. You can easily do a quick google search and find your city listed in a blogger’s travel guide. I’ve seen a few travel bloggers blog about things to do in my hometown.

5.Search popular hashtags on social media

Hello, social media!! This probably my second favorite and easiest ways to explore new places. You can find a lot of things using popular hashtags. The “#visit(insert city name)” is a popular hashtag you can use to find out things to do in cities all over. I would also search popular influencers pages and see what hashtags they use as well and you’ll see a ton of places to visit and eat on the ‘gram.

There are so many things in our own cities that make them special and unique. How often do you act like a tourist in your city? What’s something cool about the city you live in? Is there something you’ve never done in your city, but you’d like to do? Drop it all in the comments section below.

Make sure to sign up for my email list to receive more tips like this. 🙂

xo

  1. Toby R Williams

    April 10th, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    I’m finally exploring Richmond like a tourist; after years of living here. This gives me some great ideas.

  2. EboneeWilliams

    April 10th, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    Yes! I’ve seen some of your posts. Richmond is definitely a cool city to explore.

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