How to Explore Your Own City & Have Fun

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Be a tourist in your city and get to know more about about what makes it great. Tips on how to explore your own city. Bring a friend! Have a great time.

First, make a bucket list of places you’d like to visit.

bucket list

This is the research part.

  • Ask family, friends, coworkers and business people you see what they recommend to visitors as must-see places.
  • Google your hometown and see what comes up.
  • Drop by the local tourism bureau and pick up some pamphlets. They will be able to tell you about upcoming events, too.
  • Check your local paper for ideas.
  • See if there are any walking tours. They are so interesting: ghost tours, gardens, cathedrals – lots of choices and most are free. They also end at a local pub or restaurant which is fun.
  • Are there bus tours? Try one out.

Once you’re satisfied with your list, start exploring.

Restaurants & Eateries for the Foodie

women eating at a restaurant patio

If you’re a foodie, you may want to choose a new place to eat first, and then if there’s more time you can find a place close by to visit like a flea market, cathedral or garden.

My friends and I went through the cafes, pubs, eateries and restaurants in alphabetical order in the city’s yellow pages. That way you get to see every place in the city and find new favorites.

Pump up the fun factor with a map.

map of New York City on fridge with magnets

Get a map of your hometown from the local tourist bureau or maybe even a local gas station. Yes, paper is better than digital for the fun factor.

Next put the map up and get some circle stickers to mark the map everywhere you visit. Do you want to make events, places and eateries differently? Do you want to mark like or dislike differently?

We did this with our family one summer and having a map on the wall made all the difference. You gain momentum over the experience when you see all the stickers on the map. The map on the wall is the memory that links it all for my kids. We talk about the map and then remember all the fun things we did.

Which tours or events only happen at certain times?

Besides a map you may need to post a calendar to keep track of when & where. (Freezer door is just the right size. Got more magnets?)

How do you want to choose where to go?

After you have your scheduled events planned, how do you want to see the other places and events on your list?

Favorite places first.

This sounds like fun, but it could take the excitement out of going to the last places. But – it would be a great idea go to the most exciting place first get the exploring momentum started.

Random selection.

Write each place or event on a slip of paper and put it in a jar to draw out on the days you’re planning to explore your own city.

Group places in the same area that you’d have time to visit together, and include a restaurant or eatery in the area that you haven’t been to before or was recommended. All go together on one slip of paper so you’re actually choosing an area rather than just one place. Then you have everything you need to make a day or afternoon of your adventure.

Throw a dart at the map.

Yes, I said it. Of course a magnetic dart at the fridge door is better than putting holes in your wall! 😛

This adds more excitement in theory. Group your places on a list, and whatever area is closest to the dart is where you’ll go.

Extra fun ways to explore your own city.


Geocaching is like a treasure hunt in your own area. It’s perfect for families, or adults. Some geocaches are huge and easy to find and others are very small – like a pill bottle – and very difficult to find. There’s a thrill when you find the geocache – especially the small containers!

Go to, to sign up and download the app. Choose a geocache and head out. Bring some little treasure to leave behind if you’d like to make a trade in one of the big ones. Geocaching is fun and can be quite addictive.


having breakfast in bed during a staycation

Find a hotel, inn, bed & breakfast or a fantastic Airbnb in your own city that you’d like to try. If you wait until early fall or the off-season you’ll be able to get a good rate. Pamper yourself! Have breakfast in bed. Find an amazing restaurant for dinner.

Most hotels are close to all the tourist places, so go for a walk and take photos just like you’ve never seen the place before. You’ll see you hometown with fresh eyes.

Shopping downtown.

window shopping downtown

Did you know that most people have never shopped in the downtown of their own city? There are unique stores, cafes, ice cream parlors, restaurants and decorations that you haven’t seen. Even if you have a dessert and do some window shopping, go downtown. (Don’t forget to bring some cash for the buskers and homeless.)

Want more? See all of our summer fun ideas.

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