Musings of a Museum Fanatic: How to Be a Tourist in Your Own Town

6.27.2016

How to Be a Tourist in Your Own Town


I hear from a lot of friends and relatives that they never do X in their town or always wanted to do Y, that they just would rather go and experience some other place. Talk like that drives me nuts! I realize that not everyone lives in the city or even the suburbs like I do but unless you're literally in the middle of nowhere you don't have much an excuse! Even then I don't buy it.

I've got some ideas to help you be a tourist in your own town.

1. Check with your local tourist board.
Most towns of various sizes have some sort of government entity that takes care of this type of info. It can range from a huge one like the City of Chicago to a small one like Lisle. Honestly this is a good resource to check out when you're visit places too. 

2. Keep an eye out 
I see information about what's going in my area all the time. When I'm in the grocery store, driving past places with signs, even through Facebook. Gotta love the stalker location ads they have going on lately. You really never know where you'll see information about what's going on.

3. Search
So you've done the first two tips and you're still lacking. Take some time and search. I will just put the search term "museum" into Google Maps and it will pull up all sorts of interesting local institutions. Sometimes I'll search by date "What's happening in Chicago weekend of August 27". There are so many resources that are right at your finger tips. It's just a matter of putting in that correct search term or sentence!  Check your local library, a lot of times they offer local history type programs or will have ads for programming in the area.

4. Keep a list
It doesn't do you any good to do all that research and then forget! For our trip this week to San Antonio I did lots of research and saved the websites for what I knew we wanted to check out to word document and saved that to my Google Drive. That way when we're figuring out what to do that morning I'll be able to pull up the website easily. This is what I do for what I want to do in the Chicago area as well, although for that I go a little more hardcore with my 101 List. The 101 list helps me to not only keep in mind certain places and events I want to go to but puts them into the goals format which helps to get it accomplished. 

5. Make time.
I think most people don't really think the place that they're in day to day is really special so they just don't make a point to do anything there. I am totally the same way. For years I had never even been to the Lisle Station Museum since I'd lived in Lisle my entire life it's like ewww Lisle. Finally after being at home after my masters coursework I forced myself to go and visit. It was great, such a gem in a smaller town and I had never appreciated before!

6. Enlist a friend
Going to experience fun places and events is usually more fun when you share the experience with others. Plus if you enlist the right friend *cough cough Stephanie* they can make sure you do end up taking time enjoy and go to the those events you always talk about experiencing.

What are some of the local experiences you've always been meaning to go see?

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