When we’re in vacation mode, everything seems fresh and exciting. In a new place, we naturally explore the culture, art, architecture, and other local attractions around us.
But what about all of the attractions and points of interest that are located closer to home? The fact is that most days, we take them for granted.
It may take a special visit from out-of-town friends and family, or simply designating a long weekend as a “staycation” to get out and see them.
But whatever makes it happen, the effort is worth it. Choosing to put on a tourist hat in your own town isn’t just fun — it helps you get more insights into the place you call home.
No matter where you live, you can do the following to explore your hometown.
Learn the history
Towns of every size tend to have fascinating stories about the people, places, and ideas that influenced how they became what they are today.
There are many ways to explore those stories where you live. In a smaller town, you may be able to find some of the very first human habitation in the area, whether it’s a Native American mound or a log cabin in the woods built by the first European settlers in the area. Even a visit to a local historic graveyard can be an interesting way to learn more about how an area was founded.
If you live in a larger city, you may choose to explore one specific historic neighborhood, for example, or visit the city’s museums that celebrate local heritage. Restored homes from various time periods can also offer a fascinating glimpse into a town’s history. You can also learn which industries were responsible for helping a town or city grow and experience some of that firsthand, such as with a factory tour or a ride on a steamboat.
When exploring an area’s history, you can also consider taking an official tour. For example, in Savannah, Georgia, where we live, Pedicab tours are popular. You may also be able to find a local ghost tour that delves into the darker side of a city’s history.
Tour the unique culinary scene
You can learn a lot about any place from what (and how) people eat and drink there.
Most towns have a few local culinary specialties that they’re proud of, as well as restaurants and dishes that pay homage to the town’s natural and cultural influences, both past and present. You’ve probably tried most of these specialties at some point when living in your hometown, but you can always take some time to explore some of the newer culinary voices on the scene.
In addition to food, you (and any visiting guests) might also enjoy a tour of local breweries, wineries, or distilleries, depending on the town’s culture.
Visit famous landmarks and art
Isn’t it funny how you can live in a town for years and still manage to avoid seeing some of its most well-known attractions?
Whether it’s a nationally known landmark, a gorgeous mural perfect for a social media photo op, or even a local museum, gallery, market, theater, park, or neighborhood, it’s time to explore and enjoy these just as a tourist would.
Experience cultural festivals
One of the best things about visiting a new town, city, or region is experiencing how they celebrate important days of the year, seasons, and milestones.
Your own town probably has some of these unique celebrations and holidays. If you’ve missed them in the past, now is the time to make up for it.
For example, in Savannah, we have a huge St. Patrick’s Day celebration that includes music, dancing, and a big parade. Other special events include Savannah’s Gourmet Seafood & Spirits Festival and the Savannah Music Festival.
See the town from a new angle
When you visit a new city, one of the most touristy things you can do is head to the top of the tallest building around for an amazing view.
For example, tourists love heading to the top of Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) in Chicago or the Empire State Building in New York City. But have you ever gotten the bird’s eye view of your own town?
You may be able to tour a local skyscraper, enjoy the view from a rooftop bar, or even take a helicopter ride.
If your hometown is one of the many located on the banks of a river, a boat tour can also offer a new and exciting perspective.
Sample the local boutiques
All too often these days, we neglect the locally-owned shops in our area in favor of the convenience of shopping online.
But if your hometown is like most, there are plenty of artisans and small business owners doing the hard work of curating items and creating welcoming spaces for patrons to enjoy.
It’s time to explore the neighborhood shopping districts near you just as you would if you were visiting from out of town.
The wild areas around your city probably have unique combinations of habitats and ecosystems that make them the perfect place to spot certain species of plants and animals.
For example, Savannah is located on the Savannah River, and within a short distance of the city visitors can experience “vast marshlands, pristine beaches, rivers, and creeks filled with marine life” which gives visitors the opportunity to witness a wide variety of wildlife.
And even if your town offers relatively little in the way of modern arts and culture, there’s probably still plenty to learn about ancient history and how it shaped the area’s geography and topography.
Your town may have an amazing fossil record, for example, that may be explored in museums or simply in a local creek bed.
Are you considering a new home in Savannah?
Historic Savannah, Georgia might just be one of the best hometowns in the world for pretending to be a tourist.
The city attracts travelers from all over thanks to its top educational opportunities, gorgeous architecture, top-of-the-line healthcare, and exciting nightlife.
Savannah is known for manicured parks, gardens, fountains, and antebellum architecture. The city is made up of 22 historic squares dotting the city, shaded by oak trees covered with Spanish moss.
If you think you’d feel right at home among this amazing history and culture, you need to check out an amazing property on the riverfront.Savannah is known for its top educational opportunities, gorgeous architecture, top-of-the-line healthcare, and exciting nightlife. Click To Tweet
The homes of Upper East River are luxury, single-family homes in a new live-work-play community called Eastern Wharf. Homeowners can choose from among a variety of home plans, from luxury lofts to historic rowhouses, all of which were expertly designed to blend with Savannah’s historic architecture and character.