If you’ve lived in a city long enough, you probably consider yourself a “true” local. You’re that person people contact when they need suggestions about the best places to eat, drink and sightsee. Even with your new friends, you’re the Zagat within the group. But despite how proud you are of your city, you may be at a point where it’s lost some its magic for you. Maybe you’re over the traffic, the constant changes to the city, the growing populations, etc. Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this feeling, but before you leave that amazing rent-controlled apartment, we have some simple tips that could help you fall in love with your city all over again.
Grab Some Coffee and Get Lost in the City
It’s entirely possible that you spend so much time working, driving and dealing with life that you’ve missed the simple beauty and changes that happened throughout the neighborhood. There’s one way to catch up on all that you’ve missed—lace up some comfortable walking shoes and get lost in your city. Plan to really take the time to walk around and get re-acquainted with your neighborhood. If you’re exploring in the morning, stop by the newest coffee shop (because let’s be honest, there’s a new coffee shop opening on every corner), get your favorite drink and walk. If it’s after 2pm, grab a cup of your favorite drink—either from home, from a deli or a store. Regardless of what time you decide to explore, make a pact with yourself that you can’t go home until you’ve at least walked three miles or have seen three new places. Walking around your neighborhood can help strike a chord and bring back all the reasons you fell in love with this area in the first place.
That Sweet Old Guy Sitting on the Bench in the Park Nearby? Chat Him Up.
You think you’re a local? You don’t have anything on someone 30 years your senior who probably knew this city when the street you live on was probably home to a famous someone. But you know what? HE DOES! Instead of politely smiling during your run every day, stop and talk to him for a few minutes and see what his favorite places are and ask him about the city as whole. Chances are, you didn’t know there was a bowling alley inside that Laundromat nor did you know about the secret menu at the local dive bar. Even if his results are – let’s say – a little unexpected, the conversation will help see your city in a different way because someone with a significant age gap doesn’t see the city the same way you do.
Scope Out Some Street Food
If you’re notorious for eating at the same places all the time, it’s time try something new. Break away from the norm for the day and head to your local business park or street food park. Why you ask? Food trucks and lots of them! If you’re out and about during the week, business parks are usually teaming with food trucks to give local employees different food options that are quick, easy and delicious. If you’re out during the weekend, street food parks are your best bet. Think SOMA Street Food Park in San Francisco or Bleu Garten in Oklahoma City. Food truck parks like these are popping up everywhere and actually reviving cities. Not only can you try great food, but you can also meet some wonderful new people. Just remember: bring cash!
Google and SEO Words are Your Friends
If you have no idea what to do or where to go, search engines and SEOs are your friends. Using keywords like “cheap”, “free”, “top things”, “amazing”, “outdoor”, etc., you can find tons of things to do. We’re pretty sure many of the events you find, you’ve probably never even heard of. You can read reviews, top five lists, and get the dates/times/parking info of fun events in your area and check out whatever sounds interesting to you.
Bottom line is this: get outside. Walk around and explore. Talk to people who are nothing like you, but can bring a different perspective to the table. Do your research. Any combination of the three will have you chatting up coworkers and filling up friend group texts with lines like “Have you ever heard of X? Been to Y? I just got back from Z and you’d never guess…” Definitely worth a shot!
Happy falling in love, city-dwellers!
– Guest Contributor, CR