How To Be A Tourist In Your Own City

Since you can’t take that European vacation yet, make some memories in your own backyard.

After eight years of living in New York City, I have yet to visit some renowned tourist spots. Statue of Liberty? Never been. Times Square? Only if forced. Empire State Building? Maybe one day. Now is the time to see those sites you haven’t looked twice at. Since getting on an airplane seems to be some time away, you might as well hunker down and really immerse yourself in the place that you call home. Here’s how to create the ultimate staycation.

EAT!: There is no better way to fall back in love with your city than through food. As restaurants reopen and outdoor dining is becoming the norm, you can pretend you are dining al fresco in Paris from the comfort of your home city. Make a list of the restaurants you’ve been dying to try but haven’t made time for. What is your state, city or town known for? In NYC there’s pizza, in San Francisco there’s burritos, in Hawaii there’s poke, in New Orleans, there’s beignets. Make a map of the best of the best places you’ve wanted to try and make a weekend out of it. Hop around from spot to spot, try multiple versions of famous dishes and settle the debate once and for all as to who does it best.

Book a night at a swanky hotel (or, if you’re on a budget, an AirBnb in another neighborhood): What better way to feel as if you’re on vacation than plush pillows, room service (did someone say all-you-can-eat French fries?) and a view that can’t be matched. Treat yourself on a special occasion or any day of the week!

Check out the sites: When you live close to some of the world’s best-known landmarks, you may forget why they are so popular. Think the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Statue of Liberty in NYC, the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. Well, now is your chance to visit those sites -- journey to the museums you may not have been to, go to a concert at a famous arena or a small divey music venue, and take those tours that first-timers flock to. Map out an itinerary like a true tourist and see your city/town like you never have before.

Take a tour: I always cringe when I see walking tours in the city, but these people may be onto something. I’ve always said the best way to see a city is by walking through it, and why not have someone narrate the history of all that’s around you? Who knows what famous people have walked the same path or what historical events have taken place in the vicinity.

Go to the top: See where you live like you never have before. Whether it's the highest point on a hill during a hike or a trip to the top of a building, get the best view your town/city has to offer. And for anyone visiting New York City, I offer this tip. Do not fall victim and pay $40 to get to the Top of the Rock. For just the price of a beer ($8), you can head up to Bar SixtyFive and take in the same view on the outside deck for a quarter of the cost and with a nice chilled cocktail in hand!

Alyssa Conroy