Whether you’re feeling a little stagnant or just want to try something new, it’s never too late to discover untapped facets of your city.
1. Swallow your pride
In a place like New Orleans (my city), it’s hard not to get defensive when a tourist shows us something we didn’t already know about. Down here, we really pride ourselves on our ability to recommend the best restaurants, bars and music spots. But, if you really want to learn something new about where you live, you have to let that pride go. Live with the curiosity of an explorer, and don’t shut people down just because they’re not from your city. They just may offer you something life-changing.
2. Take a tour
I used to roll my eyes at the tourists who went on alligator tours, but it’s hard to deny how amazing this experience is once you’ve seen a 12-foot alligator jump six feet in the air and snatch a chunk of raw chicken out of a man’s hand.
I thought I knew everything about the Treme until I took a Segway tour. While I knew all of the facts our docent listed off, I’d never gone “off-roading” in Louis Armstrong Park before. And it was one of the most fun experiences of my life, mostly because of the Segway. Learning how to ride that thing was hard at first, but it was such a unique way to see my city.
3. Change your route
I always notice new murals, restaurants, and popups when I take different routes. Yes, the same routes are comfortable, and probably have less congestion, but when you’re not in a hurry, change it up! You’ll be amazed at what you find.
4. Revisit your favorite childhood spots
You went to the zoo and aquarium a million times as a kid, right? Surely, it hasn’t changed that much? Think again. How old are you now? Believe it or not, you’re all grown up now and the zoo probably isn’t what you remember. More importantly, returning to these places can fill us with a sense of child-like wonder and leave us inspired for weeks.
5. Rent a hotel or bed & breakfast
Our mood can improve just by getting away from regular routines and environments. Find a place in your favorite part of town or an area you don’t know very well. While you’re there, go to an unfamiliar restaurant. Unplug from technology and responsibility over the weekend.
6. Find solace in nature
Nothing makes me feel happier than being on the water – it’s like coming home. The second I feel that salty breeze through my hair, the stress of the work week just melts away. But you don’t have to go on the water to find your happy place or discover a different side to your city. Try exploring local hiking trails and state parks in your area. For me, that means heading into the swamp and hurtling alligators!