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Have you ever tried to be a tourist in your own town?
Sometimes we forget all of the amazing places we have right under our noses. We focus on the next trip instead of looking for the gems in our own town.

Before moving to Oregon, I wasn’t a huge traveler. I used to travel to different countries during the summer, explore the touristic places of my country, but never seeking the hidden gems. The reality change in Oregon. We traveled every weekend we could, always exploring new places.

When I asked my local friends about the places I’ve seen in Oregon they would tell me that they haven’t got to see them. The exact same thing that I would say before. I decided that no matter where I’ll live I’ll always explore the places around me. You can never know what will happen tomorrow and if you’ll get to visit them in the future.

I decided to write this post telling about my experience in order to show the amazing benefits you can get near by. Maybe, next time you’ll try to figure out what to do with your day, you won’t look far, and acknowledge the beauty in your area.

Being a Tourist in your Own Town- Portland

I live in 15 mins from the city. Close enough to visit a few times a week. This day started fairly normal. My friend and I decided to check out one of the city’s street festivals in Hawthorne street. The first thing we saw when we got there was Axe Throwing which is one of my bucket list items. It was free and of course, we stood in line and waited to try this out. I got to say that it’s completely different than you’ll expect. It took us a few throws to understand how hard and far we need to throw in order to hit the wooden wall (but eventually we made it!) and it was really fun.

We continued to explore the festival. The street was full of crafts, local artists, food, and different experiences. We tried all the free samples, listened to the local live music, and explored the local art. 

For food, it was the first time I tried one of Portland’s food carts. For those who didn’t know, Portland has more than 500 food carts at any given time. It considers one of the best street food cities in the US and a whole attraction by itself. We went to Cartopia, a food cart pod where we ordered Pizza and Mediterranean food. The food was great, and the place was so beautiful. After lunch, we went back to the festival and discover an aerial studio. They opened it to everyone and it was the first time I tried the trapeze! (another item from my bucket list).  

From there we tried to look for more attractions in the area. We saw that one of the parks is having a silent headphone party (The third attraction from my bucket list in one day). We decided to check it out (got a free pass because we only had a credit card and they only had cash) and my friend convinces me to wear one of the costumes they offered. It’s definitely an experience you can only have in Portland. 

By the end of the day, I tried 4 new things, marked 3 bucket list items, and got to explore the local beauty of the place I live. 

Why am I telling you this?

Because we can have a memorable day without trying too hard. We don’t have to fly or drive a few hours to check items from our bucket list, or simply have a memorable day.

I chose to give only one example, but simply by going to my city, I had so many incredible memories. Exploring the street arts, Powell’s city of books, and the downtown are only the tip of the iceberg (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, read my article of 10 Best Attractions in Portland Oregon).

Benefits and Ways to do it

  1. Get to know more people from your area- great experiences usually involves connecting with similar people. Start a conversation on the beach, in a Cafe or park.
  2. Learn about your city culture- there’re a few ways to do it. You can visit the city’s museums, try different group tour, and even show a friend around. I love the last way. You can enjoy a quality time with your friend, create memorable memories and get to know your town. I did it a few times and it always fun and improve your relationship.
  3. Create incredible memories without wasting a lot of money on flights, gas, and hotels- the day from my experience only cost $10 for food. If you have a budget, want to travel for cheap, looking for something to do without a lot of planning, being a tourist in your own town is perfect.

More ways include:

  • Go to a different restaurants or café- try new places and cuisines
  • Go to your town’s viewpoints
  • Attend the local festivals
  • Try the app- meetup- they’re having so many social meeting and tours. Find something that interest you and join!
Being a tourist in your own town
Showing a friend around- Going to the touristic Jet Boats in the city

Summing up

Don’t say that your city is boring! Being a tourist in your own town may sound like a slogan but it works. There’s SO much to do if you’ll look. Go out! Especially with the travel restrictions, it’s a great opportunity to get to know your area.

This Post Has 31 Comments

  1. Savannah

    This is such a good thing to remember! I’ve been awful at exploring areas I live in and it’s only once I move away that I realize how much I missed out on!

    1. Shany Yizhaki

      I know! It happened to me as well. Now I’m making sure it’s not going to happen again 😊

  2. Olivia

    This is a great post and an even better reminder that we don’t have to go far to travel 🙂

  3. Loise

    Good read! I have plans to explore my hometown too, especially now that we must have minimal travels only because of the pandemic.

  4. Brianna

    Fabulous ideas for a staycation! Most of us don’t explore our hometowns enough.

  5. Taylor

    I love the idea behind this blog post. I definitely try to be a tourist in my own city all the time. There is always a new restaurant to check out as well as a new hiking trail. 🙂

  6. Shelley

    This is so great…. I’m having a “Why didn’t I think of that?” moment over this blog. There are sooo many things I have yet to see within an hour of my doorstep… so thanks for the reminder.

  7. Shafinah Neville

    And the best part is, you can keep going back to a place any time if you feel you didn’t manage to capture it well the first time round!

  8. Sharon

    What an inspiring post! I live in San Diego, which is a tourist destination. But I rarely blog about it. And I should! The trapeze looks SO fun! I would love to try that!

  9. Hannah

    I’ve discovered so much about my home town while we’ve been in lockdown! It’s been a great excuse to see more local attractions that I’ve never got round to visiting. Although my 2020 travel plans haven’t gone as anticipated, I’ve discovered some amazing places closer to home instead!

    1. Shany Yizhaki

      I agree! So happy to hear that you got to experience more of your hometown.

  10. Pam

    I agree that being a tourist in our own town is an awesome experience and a great way to get a new perspective on our homes <3 We often forget about what we have in our own backyards!

  11. Kelly

    This is great and exactly what I have been trying to do this summer! I’m from BC and have now seen more of Western Canada this summer than I have the rest of my life! No complaints though, it has been great discovering places close to home 🙂

    1. Shany Yizhaki

      Yay! So happy to hear that you explored your area 😊 I was actually supposed to be in Western Canada this summer and it got cancelled!

  12. Disha Smith

    This is a great post!! I’ve actually discovered quite a bit in my hometown and I was surprised to see how many undiscovered gems there were.

  13. Katherine

    I had the same experience when I moved to San Francisco. I’ve now seen a lot of places that locals tell me that they haven’t been to before. We’re thinking of moving to Oregon as well, so knowing that there’s lots to explore there is comforting.

    1. Shany Yizhaki

      Oregon is amazing! If you love hiking and exploring the nature it’s the perfect place. Also the food in Portland is the BEST 💕

  14. Patti

    I love touring my own area! Especially during lockdown and not being able to travel far. I’ve discovered so many great places.

  15. Josy A

    This is soooo true!

    I have lived in the UK, Japan, Ireland and Canada. Almost everywhere, local people know way less about local awesome tourist sites than people that move there short term/ or as adults. I LOVE finding cool places to explore near where we live – it even made me start to appreciate the village where I grew up.

    This is one of the few positive points about covid-19- i feel like more people are exploring their local areas.

    1. Shany Yizhaki

      That’s amazing that you were able to live in so many places.
      With the travel restrictions it is a good time to focus on our area.

  16. Katie

    So true! I have created a lot more bucket list items for Denver where I am mostly based this year, including breweries and restaurants I want to try and new hikes to do and it has been really fun!

  17. Francesca

    I love being a tourist in my own town. It allows you to find some awesome hidden gems!

  18. Nicola Lavin

    I agree! We often overlook what is right in front of us.That is the one thing I am grateful for this year is getting to play tourist in my own town and country.

  19. Karen

    I totally agree with this sentiment. I love exploring in my own backyard. In these times I’ve definitely done more local exploring. And I’m still amazed by what I’m finding, especially outdoors.

  20. Julia Williams

    What a wonderful idea! When I first moved to my city I made it a goal to do one new thing every weekend and loved it!

  21. Lannie travels

    What a thoughtful post! It’s true, I wasn’t really a tourist in my own city or state that I grew up in, before I moved away. It would be interesting to go back and see the sites!

  22. Rebecca

    I would be so scared to try trapeze things.

    1. Shany Yizhaki

      I was scared but it’s actually pretty fun. You should give it a try 😊

  23. Helga

    It is indeed really great to be tourist in our own town. The only downside is, if it’s a small town, people will be looking at you weird if you start shooting with your tripod haha


    Right we all think that any kind of things for amaze so far from us.But we sometimes forgot that under our nose fabulous things waiting. We never saw that.Nice article, please keep posting like this.

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