We think you should explore your city. Thousands—maybe millions—of tourists visit your city each year because they think your city is cool enough for a vacation. Whether you live in Austin or New Orleans, St. Louis or Queens, San Diego or Seattle your city is a fantastic place to explore. Go on an urban adventure this weekend! Here’s why you won’t regret it:
Learning about your city’s history and heritage will make you a better citizen. Understanding what makes your city tick (and how it became the beautiful place it is today) will keep you empathetic and mindful of others who live there. Meeting the people of your city will do the same. Make it a point to talk to someone you meet, even if it means asking a simple question like how long have you lived in this neighborhood?
Your city is a masterpiece—carefully planned and built by architects, engineers, urban planners, and laborers. Look up! Notice and appreciate their hard work. If something feels off, there’s a good chance that particular spot in your city wasn’t made with a parent (or kids) in mind. Can you figure out why not?
Urban environments are known to be noisy and sometimes dirty or smelly but they’re also home to some of the most beautiful parks and secret places where you can feel a sense of calm unlike anything else. In addition to beautiful parks and nature areas, your city is home to some of the most well known museums, research institutions, art galleries, architecture, performances, and theatre in the region. What are you waiting for?
Crafting an urban adventure is a surefire way to kick a case of boredom. At the very least, you’ll have something interesting to share at work on Monday morning.
It can be hard to break out of your normal routine and find a new way to see your city. Try these ideas if you need a jump start on planning your day out and about:
1. Take a new mode of transportation
If you always take the bus, try biking this time. If you always drive, take the bus instead. It’s a whole new world when you take new transit!
2. Visit a neighborhood you’ve never heard of
There’s probably at least one! If you find a different culture or ethnicity there, try a new food at a local restaurant or buy a snack from the grocery store.
3. Let the kids lead
Study a map of your city with your kids and let them decide where to go. It will probably be something surprising, and they’ll love taking the lead for the day.
4. Do something super touristy
That observation deck on the hundredth floor that’s been on your bucket list for years? It’s calling your name. You could even get a travel guide and see what the rest of the world loves about your city.
5. Get nerdy
Read poetry or literature written about your city and visit the places mentioned by the author. Look up some famous paintings and visit the intersection or buildings represented in the artwork. Listen to music by artists who live in of your city or songs about the place you call home.
6. Be a foodie
Plan your trek around a food you love. Visit as many donut shops or taquerias as you can and pick your favorite once and for all. Or try something entirely new!
Keep your day pack ready for adventures like these as well as everyday errands that can turn into an experience that’s just as fun. Spending time with your kids isn’t always about doing something over-the-top exciting; sometimes a simple change of pace means just as much to them. Take a different route home or stopping at a new playground on the way back from the grocery store.
Keeping our eyes open to the fascinations of the city is all it takes to make getting from A to B feel like an adventure. Be curious about what you see. Try not to rush (at least not every time). Let your kids lead the way! The city is a wonderful place to call home.