Reasons to Play Tourist in Your Own City

Tourist in Your Own CityPIN IT!Many people believe that traveling and exploring requires lots of planning but what if I told you there were many adventures just around the corner? Even if its only an hour from your city, you will surely find a variety of unique locations and businesses. I remember being a teenager and exploring all our tiny town’s downtown shopping strips. Some had only 5 stores, some had 50 but regardless there were always hidden treasures to be found.

Support Local Businesses

One of the best parts of exploring a local downtown area are the shops. Many downtowns are full of small business from tiny nooks to large book stores. What’s even better is that when you make a purchase you are giving back to the community by supporting that small business. It takes a lot of money and time to create that storefront so every dollar helps.

Discover New People

Have you ever stopped to chat with the small fruit stands on the side of the road? Maybe there’s a story there that would fascinate you while helping them out with a purchase. There are so many different walks of life out there you are bound to run into someone who has an extraordinary story to share. I personally met tons of people in Hawaii this way. Someone playing the ukulele would be singing their heart out and I would stop to chat.

You Don’t Have to Spend Money

Running low on cash and don’t have the extra funds to spend. No worries! Many small towns have some sort of attraction you can visit for free. For instance, when I visited downtown Poulsbo this summer, there was a free museum and aquarium. You don’t have to spend money to let your kids run wild through a new park or have a picnic on a nice green lawn. Also, many areas have farmer’s markets on the weekend where you can just peruse the tents of goodies.

Finding Your City

Even today as an adult, I am in love with my city’s downtown area. I did not like Arizona when I first moved here. As it slowly started to grow on me I started looking for an area to fall in love with. I lived in North Phoenix, Central Phoenix, Avondale, Chandler, Ahwahtukee, and lastly I ended up in Gilbert. Now you can’t pull me away from this city because I am so happy here. I think finding a city to fall in love with is the door to falling in love with a place you may have initially disliked.

Regardless of where you live, you are bound to find something new when you go exploring and play tourist in your own city. If you ever find yourself bored and wanting to explore, try visiting a new location close by that you’ve never been to. You’ll be surprised at what you may experience.

  • Jimmy and Tina

    This is a great article and I love playing tourist in my hometown. There is so much to learn and so much adventure right outside your back door stop. I agree it opens you up to meeting new people and also supports local business. Not only that there are so many hidden treasure to be found.

  • Valerie

    I love this idea. We do this often and need to keep looking for more new places to try. A friend of mine lives in the city so I always watch for her posts and go off of them as well. Happy New Year.

  • Mihaela Echols

    oh thats a fun idea! Maybe my town wont seem as borring if i look through a tourist eyes!

  • Heather @ Country Life, City Wife

    We moved here a year and a half ago and I am still constantly playing tourist in my back yard LOL. I agree – it is great to give back to local businesses and discover the beauty of hidden gems right nearby. 🙂

  • Melissa Jennings

    I love being a tourist in my own town. Each summer we spend time checking out all of the local attractions and enjoying Mom and Pop dining choices. I of course love when I am able to entertain guests in my city too but when I don’t have guests to entertain we just enjoy all the city has to offer for ourselves.

  • Amber Myers

    I love this idea! We live near San Antonio and I so want to do this. There’s so much to see around here!

  • Ana De- Jesus

    I always think it is fun to play tourist because chances are you will have a lot of fun along the way!

  • The Travel ninjas

    We agree completely. Playing tourist in your home town is so much fun. It’s all in having a curious mindset about familiar things and places.

  • censie

    YES!! My husband and I were just talking about this. We went to our local YMCA in the mountains this weekend and decided we have to do this more often in our state. HOping to really do some touristy things in the new year with our kids here in Colorado.

  • Bites for Foodies

    Although I definitely agree with the concept of supporting local businesses, besides a few streets and random stores I really don’t feel like my city has much to offer! Maybe it’s because I lived in Europe for 8 years and nothing will every compare to that! 😉

  • Jasmine | Little Limelight

    Great thoughts. I always love to explore my own city. Why travel the world when you haven’t even explored home, eh?

  • Debra Schroeder

    You’ve made a lot of valid points. I’m a big fan of playing tourist in my city and doing staycations. But then, I live in San Diego so it isn’t hard to want to stay and play here. 🙂

  • Anne

    Loved the idea. I would love to try this.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Rachel G

    We live on a small island and after many years, sometimes it feels like we’ve done everything there is to do here too many times! But you’re right, you never know when something new might pop up. I’ve been wanting to get out and try some little independent new restaurants popping up on our island–it will add a little adventure to life without having to jump on a plane!

  • Elizabeth O.

    I think it’s important to play tourist in our own city. Sometimes, the nearer the attractions are, the more we put off going to those places. It’s nice to be able to explore your city and see what it has to offer.

  • Author Brandi KENNEDY

    I have somewhat done this in my city over the years, and it has really enriched my love for this place. Knoxville is a rich environment and our downtown areas are full of great little places to lose yourself in.

  • Aileen Adalid

    There’s this quote that I love: “People seem to travel to faraway places to watch—in fascination—the kind of things, people, and places that they ignore at home.” I think indeed that it’s also important to play tourist to our own city/place because there are so many things that we tend to overlook. I’ve been to over 30 countries now and I’ve come to see that every place is almost the same, albeit for a few tiny differences.

  • Kristy @ Mommy Hates Cooking

    I love getting out and exploring the area we live in with my husband and kids! We have found so many neat places that we are now in love with. Knowing that in the process we are keeping our money local and supporting local families is icing on the cake.

  • Phoebe @ Getting Freedom

    Many years ago we moved 2 hours away from all of my family and friends and I was thrown into an area that I knew nothing about. It took me a few years, but I finally realized that this was where we were most likely going to stay, and the only way I was going to learn to like it was if I got out and found out what it had to offer. I love talking to the people who run our small shops and learning more about the history of this place we now call home.

  • Steven Goodwin

    This is a great idea! We always tend to get the idea that we have to go far distances to have a good experience when one could be had with a 30 minute drive from home! Thanks for the tips!

  • Angela zimsky

    We should try this.

  • jen

    I love this post! I just moved to a new city in August of last year and I am still exploring it and finding all the small shops and character in the area. It’s been a really fun experience because I know I’m supporting my city and I’m building great memories in the meantime. Plus meeting new people local to me doesn’t hurt either!

  • Airina Desuyo

    Great tips! I am particularly fond of just staying home and I plan to tour Couchsurfers when they go to my place. Isn’t that a nice idea? Weee I am so excited! New Year! New Project! 😀

  • R U S S

    This is something that we should all do 🙂 It is good for the economy PLUS it’s cookie points if you can be an expert to your own country or cities first before another place. I regular play tourist in my own city and it’s helped me a lot by giving recommendations to my friends from other countries whenever they’re visiting. I also get to play tour guide to them 🙂

  • Sheila Moon

    That’s why I love Atlanta, no matter where you go there is always something to see or do. And visiting smaller towns is the best because of the fruit stands, dances they have or the fairs. So many interesting things to do and enjoy.

  • Angela

    I love doing this and have had some real adventures in the past. I lived in New Zealand for 15 years and glad i played tourist as I now have fond memories.

  • TColeman

    I could not agree more with discovering and exploring the place you live. These are all such great reasons to do just that.

  • Echo

    I absolutely love exploring my own town! Especially when you live somewhere like the Twin Cities! There is an unending path of things to be discovered and explored! We have art, museums, food and so much more, right in out backyard!

  • Caitlin

    Great post! I love playing tourist in my hometown… I love to get passes from my local library and explore museums. My husband and I also do daytrips and go to towns an hour or so away and explore them.

  • katrina gehman

    ive only lived here in this city for a little over a year. i still feel like a tourist at time. sounds like something fun to do and helps those small business out.

  • Ang.

    Great post. I don’t think there is anything wrong with explore your own town. I mean you almost have to experience the ‘tourist’ stuff to say you really know your town. Great article! Love the layout too!

  • emma white

    oh wow yes what a great post – I am very lucky that I live in a beautiful historic market town yet take it for granted

  • Divine Mwimba

    Love this. Yes, you can get away without spending much. When I went to Paris, we did a lot of walking around, taking photos and we stayed at an Airbnb which meant we did our own groceries. We barely spent money. On the last day, I wanted to shop as we had money left over, and even then, I was already satisfied so did not end up spending much.

  • Imani

    I too always jump into conversation with people while I’m traveling ! It makes the “movie” more adventurous and you discover new thrills to enjoy from loans or fellow travelers!

  • Kait

    I’m all about supporting local businesses. I would for a small business and it’s great to feel like a real moving piece in a company.

  • Deb dutta

    Oh I just love playing the tourist in my city role! ! Just not often enough but you discover so many things in that light ! Love it

  • Angela zimsky

    Ive brought this up to my husband since reading your article and he thinks this is a great idea.

  • Isaly holland

    This is such a cool idea! I want to find new areas of Dallas and see what else is here.

    Isaly Holland |

  • Agness of Fit Travelling

    I love your idea, Jess! There is always something new a person can learn about its own place!

  • Nagella

    When you love traveling but can’t travel due to other commitments, then playing tourist in your own city is a great option.

  • Cello

    When you love traveling but can’t travel due to other commitments, then playing tourist in your own city is a great option.