The Getaway
Ways to Enjoy a Staycation in Your Own City

Far-flung vacations are a great way to satisfy your wanderlust, but sometimes, they simply aren't practical. If that situation pertains to you, it might be time to consider a staycation and pack in the fun right where you are. Why not be a tourist in your own city?

Staycations tend to be more budget-friendly, which means more money for fun and entertainment. And even if you think you know everything there is to know about your corner of the world, you may be pleasantly surprised to find there's more to discover.


01 Stay at a local hotel

A woman drinking coffee and breakfast floating on the water beside the pool Plug Pattarin / Getty Images

As a resident, you may not have given much thought to the hotel offerings in your locale. But now's your chance, as there are likely some excellent properties to explore. Choose a locally owned option to really make the most of your experience.

A staycation is a great time to check out any new properties that may have opened recently. Opt for unique offerings, such as a boutique hotel with an array of luxury amenities or a historic property that will give you a chance to learn even more about your community.


02 Plan an itinerary of local attractions

rear view of woman sitting in an art gallery in front of colorful paintings jenoche / Getty Images

Just as you would for any other trip, create an itinerary for some local fun. Start with your favorite attractions, and then incorporate a twist. For instance, if you're a fan of your local zoo, maybe spring for behinds-the-scenes tickets to get an idea of how the zoo operates.

If you have a favorite museum, maybe ask about after-hours tours or special events, just to get a different experience from the one you might usually have. The idea is to experience the best your city has to offer in a way that is different from the norm.


03 Take a different mode of transport

woman cycling in Moscow Kremlin yulkapopkova / Getty Images

If you typically drive around your city, try something else. Depending on your locale, driving is not always an option for tourists. So, think like you're from someplace else. Take mass transit or walk to some of your destinations, if possible. You might also consider cycling.

If you live in a place with more eclectic options, take advantage of them. For example, some areas boast electric scooters geared towards tourists who want to check out the sights in a more leisurely way. If your town has something like that, do it. You might find some hidden gems you may have otherwise passed on by.


04 Dine out of your comfort zone

Eating Korean food Yeongsik Im / Shutterstock

Since it's your home turf, chances are you have your favorite eateries — the go-to spots that you know will deliver on a great meal and experience. But being a tourist means stepping all the way out of your routine. Make it a point during your trip to check out local restaurants that you have never tried before.

You get bonus points if you can expand your palate to include international cuisine; it's another excellent way to make it feel like you are exploring new pockets of your town.


05 Take a walking tour

Young man with backpack walking on Tower Bridge Chalabala / Getty Images

There are probably so many things about your city's history that you didn't even know, and a walking tour is one of the best ways to learn a few new things. Most places have them either in their downtown or historic areas.

If you really want to spice things up, meet up with a local walking ghost tour and check out some of the haunted spots around town.


06 Shop local

woman looking for fancy jewelry and accessories in a flea market shop frantic00 / Getty Images

Try an adventure that's different than heading to your local grocery store or picking up items from your go-to spots around town. Instead, challenge yourself to visit all the local boutiques and shops that you probably pass by on your morning commute all the time, promising yourself that you'll stop. Now's the time.

Check out local clothing boutiques, small record shops and bookstores, and any other stores that are unique to your locale.


07 Step into the nightlife

Jazz band Photo Spirit / Shutterstock

As you plan your itinerary, consider incorporating different forms of nightlife to finish off each night. For instance, perhaps one night you can check out a local live music joint, and another, attend the opera or salsa dance at a Latin club. Whatever nightlife you opt to investigate, be sure that it is different from what you might typically do.

If there are a wide array of options, choose something most eclectic, like a historic blues club or a live jazz joint, to truly feel like a tourist.


08 Explore old bookstores

woman at Shakespeare and Company bookstore Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock

Old bookstores boast a double benefit for locals looking to feel like tourists: they are typically exciting and creative spaces worth exploring and are often chock full of literature about your city. This is a good opportunity to make the round of funky old bookstores in your town and pick up a few reads about fun facts that you may not have known prior to your excursion.

Remember, the dustier and more eclectic the bookstore, the better. If you really want to get the goods on the place you call home, consider chatting with the shopkeeper if they are available. They likely have some good stories to share.


09 Create your own crawl Kristen Prahl / Shutterstock

This is a good way to explore your area like a tourist and have a great time doing it. Create a crawl of any kind. Most crawls involve alcohol, but you can honestly sub out just about anything for your crawl. The point is to get to know your region better through some of the best local spots.

For example, do a chocolate crawl and sample some of the best local chocolate dishes at restaurants around town. Do a pizza crawl and have a slice at four or five different places. However, if there's a repertoire of local breweries, you can't go wrong with a brewery crawl.


10 Snap all the cheesy photos

man taking selfie at Golden Gate Bridge Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

Tourists ALWAYS take photos of the places they visit, so you should do the same if you really want to feel like a tourist in your town. Take pictures in front of well-known attractions and monuments. If there's one spot where all the tourists take a particular type of photo (i.e., placing their heads in the mouth of a shark statue), do the same for your scrapbook of the experience.

Remember, the sillier and cheesier the photos, the better. It'll help ensure that you really do look like a tourist.


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