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Home /Travel / Exploring Your Town 101

Exploring Your Town 101

By Oliva Harlow

It’s easy to get restless in your hometown. You get antsy, noting all the places you want to visit and the heavy desire to escape your current routine. But the thing is, you can make a vacation right where you are.

While imagining a getaway, sometimes we miss the things that are right in front of us. We don’t notice the beautiful parks, we don’t dine at new restaurants, we stop going to concerts, and we don’t explore the nearby pathways. All in all, we stop putting in effort to enjoy our surroundings. We overlook the beauty in our own backyard!

So, for your next vacation, skip spending an exorbitant amount of money on hotels and rental cars. Skip the meticulous planning. Skip the grumbling discontent. Because, truth is, you don’t need a plane ticket to enjoy your life right now, and you don’t need a passport to create memories. For your next holiday from work, make the most of what’s in front of you.

Here are some tips on how to fall back in love with your hometown:



...Especially drive-Ins. If you haven’t been to the movies in a while (or even if you just went yesterday), go to the movies. If there’s a funky theatre you’ve never been to, try that one. Better yet, if there’s a drive-in, just hop in your car and go! Grab a massive bucket of popcorn, your guilty pleasure soda, and try to snag a spot in the front and center.



Book Shops

Nowadays, bookstores are dropping like flies. Yet, in most towns and cities, at least one local bookshop remains. And you can bet that if it’s survived, it’s the best—a true literary heaven. Whether you’re an avid reader or not, surrounding yourself with literature is an unquestionably moving experience. Plus, you never know what kinds of interesting folks you might meet while weaving through aisles and stacks of books!

Coffee shops

Coffee is culture. Across the Sdates, coffee shops have become so much more than a place to simply caffeinate. Coffees vary in flavor and origin; pastries compete for puff and fluff; and atmospheres range from modern to quaint to punk, and everything in between.


Live Music

Look up your area’s upcoming music shows. Never heard of any of the bands? Pick one, without evening reading their bio or looking up their tunes on Spotify. Just go. The worst thing that can happen is that you wasted $15 on music that you can’t stand. But the best thing that can happen? Well, you spend hours dancing like a freak to your new favorite band, with a new trio of besties you just met, and incredible lyrics stuck in your head for days. Definitely worth the risk.


Go Outdoors!

The great outdoors. If you live in an outdoor heavy environment, chances are you haven’t hiked every If you have, go back to your favorite spot. Nature is a scientifically proven form of therapy. Whether you hike for miles or simply sit at the foot of a tree, spending time meditating and exploring outside is rejuvenating. And if you don’t have much around in terms of nature opportunity, then it's time for a road trip (see below). The point is to escape crowds, find solitude, and be inspired by the natural world.


A Bike Ride

Don’t have a bike? Borrow one from a friend, or check out the local bike shop’s rental policy. Latch on a helmet, and cruise. Seeing the world by bike is one of the best ways to slow down and really tune in to your surroundings. It raises awareness and exposes you to nooks and crannies you otherwise wouldn’t see.


A New Sport

If you’re thinking, No way, don’t fear. This doesn’t mean you have to go kick soccer balls with borderline pros. It just means to try something active that isn’t part of your normal routine. Go to a yoga class, try Zumba, do a workout video at home, head to a rock climbing gym. Or, just go for a walk. A lot of us don’t even make time for something so fundamental and simple. Walk around, and see what happens.


Art Gallery

Never been to a local gallery? It’s time to stimulate your senses. Call galleries, search newspapers, or just walk into existing studios and inquire about upcoming shows. If your town isn’t artsy fartsy, try a museum. Just expose yourself to creativity!


I Scream, You Scream

We all scream for Ice Cream. Treat yourself to a delicious dessert at one of your favorite sweet spots or somewhere you’ve never been!


Get Out of Your Norm

Roller blading. Ice skating. Yep, do something a bit off the beaten path. Go to a local “jump park” with trampolines and Tarzan ropes and ball pits. Whatever it is, give yourself a laugh with something you maybe haven’t done since you were a kid.


Farmer's Market

Support your local farmers by buying some fresh, locally grown produce. Then, come home and cook yourself a meal, using a never-before-used recipe.


Road Trip

Go for a road trip! If you’ve never explored the cities and hidden gems within a four-hour drive, now’s the time to do it! Pack up your car and hit the road. Stop at flower fields and funky cafes. Pull off to frolic random pathways and take pictures of curious landscapes. Let the open road carry you.


Get Fancy

Grab your gal pals or significant other, and hit the town for a fancy night out. First up? Cocktail bar. Next up? Foi gras and honey-glazed carrots and thick-cut steaks and garlic-infused breadsticks. If just for one night, calories and dollar signs don’t matter.

Treat Yo’self

Whether it be a new outfit from a recently opened boutique, or a fresh hair cut from a fancy salon two miles from your office, it’s time to give yourself something special and luxurious. Go to the spa for a massage, and load your shopping bag with candles and incense to bring back home.


Heard that there’s a cool climbing gym in town? Never tried it? Perfect. Spend your afternoon monkeying around. Know some co-workers who are on the roller derby team? Ask if you can tag along. See a posting for poetry night? Go listen to the power of spoken word. The list is endless. Get outside your comfort zone, by trying something totally new and personally random.


It’s funny: Stepping outside your comfort zone sometimes means challenging yourself in your most comfortable setting. Your current location—a place you’ve lived for years, where you know most people, have a steady job, et cetera? Well, it turns out this is the perfect place to challenge your comfort zone. Take advantage of the awesome place you live, immerse yourself in your surroundings, and take a vacation exactly where you are!

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