Why You Should Be a Tourist in Your Own City

Spring break just ended and most of us aren’t ready for another 10 weeks of class, but no one can deny that Spring Quarter at UW has its perks–beautiful weather, longer daylight, and of course, the long-awaited cherry blossoms. We all complain about the tourists but chances are, you went somewhere over spring break and the people living wherever you visited probably complained about tourists (like you), too. Everyone’s talking about all the fun things they did over break and whenever someone asks me about what I did, I just say, “I didn’t really do anything fun. I just went home so that was pretty nice.”

The most common response I get is, “Yeah, but your home is Los Angeles, so it was probably nice to go there.” I guess I just don’t think much of it. We all come from different places and have different homes. Some people are from New York or San Francisco, and I just so happen to be from Los Angeles. To me, LA isn’t some cool destination to travel to because I just see it as my home. After hearing that comment several times now, I’ve realized that when you’re from somewhere that people travel hundreds (or even thousands) of miles to come see, you might as well appreciate it. For some reason, there’s a stigma behind doing touristy things if you’re a local– but if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that has cool things to do and see, why not go out and experience those things?

If you’re not convinced yet that you should go out and find exciting, touristy things to do in your hometown, let me give you a few reasons why I think we should all be tourists in our own cities.

1. You may not live there forever.

Chances are, you’ll move at one point or another in your life. Maybe that’ll be in one year or ten years–or for the select few, maybe never at all; regardless of when or if that time comes, why take the chance and lose the opportunity to see all the places that people from all over pay money to come visit. In the future, you may not have such easy access to all the things that you didn’t get to experience while you lived just a few miles away.

2. You’ll gain a new perspective.

I remember when I was in high school, a lot of people told me how much they couldn’t wait to move out of LA because “LA is the worst.” Looking back at it, I don’t see how they could say that when they hadn’t even truly experienced all that LA had to offer. Being a tourist in your own city allows you to see what tourists see and maybe you’ll even begin to understand why people dream of visiting your home. 

3. You’ll experience the activities and sights that make your home unique.

There are things your home has to offer that no other city does. Each city has things that it’s known for, and even if it’s not known for anything, there will always be certain activities that you just won’t be able to do anywhere else. Take the time to cherish your city’s specialties because once you experience new cities, you’ll realize how different they all are from one another and how each one is so distinct.

4. You have nothing to lose.

What's the worst that could happen? If you normally spend your weekends binge watching new (or old) TV shows, try taking a break for one day and go out somewhere you’ve never been before. Do your research, consider all your options, and explore your city to see for yourself what all the hype is about. If you’ve never done anything touristy in your city, might as well try it for once and see what’s out there. Worse comes worse, you don’t like it and then you can go back to binge watching your show– but you really won’t know how you feel about it unless you’ve given it a chance.

Once you've gone out and experienced what it's like to be a tourist in your hometown, you may learn to appreciate where you're from more. Who knows, maybe you'll even stop hating on all the tourists and understand why they're all so eager to visit your home.