Travel In Your Own City
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Travel In Your Own City

Just because you can't hop on an airplane doesn't mean you can't do some exploring.

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Travel In Your Own City
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Sometimes, the insatiable itch of wanderlust grips you, and all you want to do is pack a suitcase and leave right then and there to travel the world. Since most of us don't have the freedom to do that, we have to find other ways to cure the travel bug. If you can take a short vacation — a week, or even a weekend road trip — that's great. But even still, some of us have school, jobs and other things that require us to be present. So what then?

Why not travel in your own city?

It's a common thing to hear among longtime New Yorkers — they've never actually been to the Statue of Liberty. Similarly, it's easy to live in a city for years but never fully take advantage of everything it has to offer. So before you buy that plane ticket to Thailand or Australia, try these ways of exploring the city you already call home!

Food

Whenever you go to a new place, especially a new country, one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the culture is to eat their food. So why should it be any different where you live? Be sure you've tried the well-known favorites and regional classics. For example, in Birmingham, you have to eat at Saw's BBQ at least once. But look for hidden gems as well to find something new. Did you know that there's a German bakery called Klinger's on Highway 31 near Mugshots? They have some of the best desserts, as well as delicious entrees. Places like these are hiding in plain sight, and by simply asking for recommendations via social media or searching online for ideas, you can find a whole new world of food. If you're already a foodie who has tried all the restaurants, check out local food festivals. Birmingham has festivals throughout the year — just one is the annual Greek Festival, taking place Oct. 1-3 this year. Let your taste buds travel the world, or travel just down the block to a new restaurant.

Landmarks

Especially if you're only living in a city for a short period of time, like in college, you don't want to leave without having seen the highlights. Go to all the museums, cheer on local teams at sporting events, find your new favorite band at a concert, and search for even more specific attractions to your location. If you're in Birmingham, you can't leave without watching a sunset from the top of the Vulcan statue, and you have to see a movie at the Alabama Theater. Often these are things you keep putting it off until it's too late. Avoid this by planning a specific time to visit, just like you would schedule your time if you were on vacation.

Outdoors

Some places make it easy to connect to nature with parks and hiking trails. Birmingham offers plenty of these, from Moss Rock to Railroad Park. Get some exercise and fresh air as you get to know the city's greener side. But being outdoors doesn't have to mean just hiking trails and crossing streams. Explore the downtown area or other places that foster a walking culture. In Birmingham, visit Pepper Place Market on Saturday mornings, if walking through tents rather than trees is more your style. Soak in the city by being active in it, whether you decide to take on a mountainside or the concrete jungle.

Helpful Tips

Apps. Just as you would use apps to explore a new city, try apps such as Zomato (formerly Urban Spoon) and Around Me to find restaurants and attractions that you haven't heard of before.

Travel websites. Sites like Trip Advisor aren't exclusively for going on a trip. Look up your own city on travel sites to find suggestions of places to visit. Also check out the city's official website, as it will more than likely have lists of attractions, places to eat, and other things to do.

Use your school's resources. Colleges don't want you to never leave campus! If you ask admissions or an information department, chances are they'll have brochures and other helpful literature to figure out places to go. Samford has the Meet Magic City program, and is introducing a club with similar goals to connect students to Birmingham called Discover Steel City. If you're willing to ask, there are people willing to help you find places to go.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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