Photo via The Washington Post

Photo via The Washington Post

Because I spend so much time working, cultivating freelance gigs, and readying on my own projects during the week, I’m not able to travel as I’d like. But after taking my first trip across the Pond in December and visiting London and Paris I’ve been bitten by the travel bug.

But what’s a woman to do when her finances or time won’t allow a full-vacation? You become a tourist in your own town!

At the beginning of the year I started a travel and lifestyle blog about seeing the world (or your city) one weekend at a time, and since then I’ve set off to see as much of Los Angeles as possible.

Like many people who haven’t “played tourist” in their own cities, even though I’m a native Angeleno, I haven’t seen many of the gems this city has to offer. Over the past few months I’ve gone on my first hike up Griffith Park’s famed Mt. Hollywood, looked for starfish and other sea life in Abalone Cove, trekked out to the desert to see some of the animals native to the California desert, and spent a day roaming around downtown L.A., visiting spots that—in all of the years I’ve lived here—have never seen.

Although I really cannot wait for my next international adventure, acting like a tourist in my own town has not only been fun (and cheap!), but it’s been eye-opening.

So how can you get started?

Start with the hot spots: What do tourists who visit your city HAVE to see? Start there. For me, it was the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In NYC it might be the Statue of Liberty. In San Antonio, it’s probably the Alamo. Even in small towns, there’s usually a “claim to fame.” Find it and see it.

Look for deals: Sites like Groupon, Living Social, and Goldstar often offer low-cost deals to some of your cities most favorite tourist attractions. Why pay full price when you don’t have to?

Have an open mind: Don’t rule out a locale just because it isn’t a place you would normally visit. Go anyway! Although you might just surprise yourself and enjoy it, even if you don’t you’ll have yet another experience to look back on.

What about you? Do you act like a tourist in your own town? Share your tips! 

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  • La, California Dreaming

    “What about you? Do you act like a tourist in your own town? Share your tips! ”

    Start with the hot spots – Tourists think the Inner Harbor is hot, but us Baltimoreans know better.

    I don’t own a vehicle , so being a tourist here would be difficult, because 1. This place sucks. 2. The public transportation sucks too.

  • it’s nice to have a staycation sometimes. I recently wrote a post with staycation tips.

  • Dalili

    I agree with everything listed. I’d add that some of the local publications (Creative Loafing and Intown in my city) will list events that are normally not advertised by main stream media. Oh and am ok with solo trips; I drove to Helen and Savannah, Georgia alone a few years back and enjoyed my stay.

  • This is so true. I’ve lived in Philly for years and haven’t seen most of the touristy spots.

  • I have been doing this lately…I’ve lived in San Diego almost 8 years and there’s so many things it has to offer that I haven’t seen yet and locals don’t take advantage of because “it’s always there”. Every Tuesday, there’s various museums free so I try to go to one or two. I’m signed up on Groupon, Living Social, and Travel Zoo so I can find/get deals on local stuff all the time. Also, a guy here that has his own website/social group where he gets great group deals on random stuff like I went to a polo game, a bourbon tasting, and speed boating with them! I think I know more about this place now than people who were born and raised here lol.