I know I always have the feeling that I have not seen enough of the city I have spent the last six months in. Many of you, I am sure, have also had the same feeling especially if you have lived somewhere for years. Here are five things to do to be a tourist in your own city and see all the amazing sites you usually walk by on a daily bases.
Take a free walking tour in your own city
Guided tours are one of the most popular things to do as a tourist. If you are trying to be one in your own city, this is a great choice. It will take probably two hours one weekend and may not even cost you anything, because there are so many free walking tours in each city. You will learn so many new things about the sites you have seen every day. It is also a great investment for future family visits since you now have many stories to tell about all the things they want to see. This is something I am planning to do here in Budapest the moment this pandemic calms down enough for them to run again.
Go to the famous museums
Usually, there is a reason why a museum is renowned. They might have a fantastic collection, an exciting story, or a gorgeous architecture. Since you live in the city, it is easy to see the sites on a weekend or evening. At those times there are not many tourists, such as in the spring or fall, and you will enjoy it more. Many museums have a discount for people living in their city or an evening where the entrance is free. It is worth looking into. Once you have visited, you know what the fuss is about, and you can join in or disagree. Now if paintings are not your thing that is fine. There are also museums about photography, sculptures, stories, books and so much more. Just look through the list of museums from your city and make a list of the ones you want to visit. After that make a point to go to one of them each month, so eventually, you will have seen them all. I tried to do some of this in NYC, and while I did not visit as many as I wanted to, the ones I did see were worth it.
Go to the touristy cafe or restaurant
There is always that one restaurant of cafe that all the locals deem too touristy to ever go but all secretly want to visit. Here is your chance to do it. Do you have a family member visiting? Take them there and then you can say it was for them. It will be a great time for all of you and you have ticked one thing off your list. Of course, you don't need out of city visitors to go there. Just call up some of your friends and suggest you all go. It will be fun even if you all make fun of it later. I have enjoyed some of the super touristy restaurants and cafes in NYC or Spain with just as much pleasure as the tourists.
Buy a cheesy souvenir
You know you have reached the center of your city when every store around you is selling cheesy souvenirs. The next time you walk by, why not go inside and check what they have? I have found a few cute things I have liked at those souvenir shops although it might take some searching. Maybe buy a cute magnet for your fridge or an apron with a cute print? You never know what you will find and maybe actually like using. They will also make good spots for some small presents maybe if you visit friends abroad or have some visiting you. Like that you already did the research.
Spend some time wandering the streets of downtown
You know those streets you usually rush through to get to work? They are cute if you just give them a chance. Take some time one weekend to go there and just wander around. Don't go with the goal of reaching your favorite coffee shop or that reading spot you like. Just wander and get lost. It will allow you to discover new places and streets you have never seen and might want to visit again. It is a great exercise to appreciate your own city a bit more. I did this in Lausanne once the lockdown was over and discovered some really cute places and some great photo spots.
Those are my five tips to appreciate your city more and be a tourist in your own city. There is so much to see and discover in each place that we who live there miss most of the time. If you live in one of the cities I have visited, here are some posts to get you started. If you are looking for more tips The Lonely Planet is a great place to go.
Do you like these tips? Would you try any of them in the future? If you do, please let me know in the comments below or on social media. I always love hearing about your experiences.