A year and a half ago, I made a bold decision. With only three week’s notice, I decided to pick myself up, leave the state I had lived in my entire life and move across the country to a place I had never been before. Some may call it fate, others will attribute it to intuition, but I simply knew Los Angeles was the place I wanted to be, despite having spent absolutely no previous time there beforehand. A year and a half later, I look back and can see that I was absolutely, 100% correct.
When I had first arrived, the entire city felt like a bright and shiny new toy. I would create mini bucket lists for each and every weekend, then excitedly show off all the fun and interesting things I was doing when I spoke to my friends and family back home. True, a majority of these experiences stemmed from having known absolutely no one in my new city and the desperate need to get out of the apartment but still. This love for my newfound city was spurring a discovery of new peoples, places and things at lightning speed, and it only made me enjoy living in my new city more and more.
While I’ve since scaled back on my frequency of sightseeing (and yes, made some friends), the experience taught me some valuable lessons on how to act like a tourist in my own town and how to constantly be entertained and surprised by my own surroundings.
So if you’re feeling a bit too comfortable in your city, there are things you can do to spice it up (and no, they don’t need to involve moving across the country like I did). Here are some of my tried-and-true methods:
1. Create a Bucket List
Similarly to setting health and wellness intentions, creating a clear-cut list of actionable items you want to try in your city is the most effective way to get yourself motivated to try new things. Take it to the next level by writing it on a whiteboard or a piece of paper and hanging it somewhere you can see it. It’ll feel so good knocking things off your list and will keep your portfolio of experiences growing. Need inspo on what to add? Keep reading.
2. Crowdsource Ideas
These days, finding things to do in a city is more than easy. Simply type in the name of your town and the adjoining phrase “things to do” and a plethora of blogs filled with best-kept secrets and must-sees will practically fall into your lap. But if you really want to do your homework, try crowdsourcing from long-time residents and locals. Use your social networks, ask friends of friends — this is even a time when dating apps can come in handy. Ask those that know the city best what their recommendations are, then go out and see for yourself!
3. Show an Out-of-Towner Around
Having friends and family visit me in my new city was honestly the best way for me to show myself my own town. Sights that may seem touristy and cliché suddenly become a priority when out-of-towners come to visit, giving you the perfect excuse to go see things you might not normally bother with. One of my great regrets from living in New York for 20+ years was never going to visit the Statue of Liberty (I know, I know). But as a local, going to do something touristy that would always be there was something I never prioritized, and in retrospect, definitely took for granted. Give your visitors the grand ‘ol tour and you’ll find yourself falling in love with every part.
4. Try New Restaurants
No matter how long you’ve lived in your current city of residence, there’s one thing that will never stay the same: the restaurant scene. New cuisines, specialty restaurants and even branded pop-up restaurants (IRL Breakfast at Tiffany’s, anyone?) will keep your taste buds on their toes and consistently give you a reason to move outside your boundaries.