I wrote to following using my current city of Atlanta but the ideas apply to wherever you may live. Enjoy!
There are so many interesting places to see in the world and sometimes we get so caught up in wanting to “get away” we forget that we live in a major metropolitan city. Atlanta is melting pot of diversity and culture and we’re lucky enough to live right in the middle of all the action. According to the Atlanta convention and visitors bureau we have over 30 major cultural, educational, and sports attractions as well as over 348 public parks. With all Atlanta has to offer I bet that most of us don’t experience much more than school, home, and the grocery store. Well, I’m here to challenge you to get out and become a tourist in your own town. Come on, it’ll be fun!
Whether you have a week, weekend, or just one day you can take a mini vacation right in your own backyard. An Atlanta CityPass is only $69 and gives you admission to eight of Atlanta’s most popular attractions including the Georgia Aquarium, which is the largest aquarium in the world, the new world of Coca-Cola, and ZooAtlanta. You’ll also find coupons, special offers and a secret to skipping those pesky lines. With the CityPass you’ll be saving 49% on attractions and have up to nine days to see Atlanta’s top destinations.
Now let’s say you’ve seen these attractions the last time your grandparents were in town and you’re not up for a repeat. No worries, the good thing about a big city is that the possibilities are endless. When’s the last time you packed a picnic and strolled down to piedmont or hopped in and out of the shops at Virginia Highlands? If it’s been awhile then I’d recommend getting out and enjoying what your city has to offer. The Atlanta convention and visitors bureau has an awesome website with tons of information on what to do. Just go to http://www.atlanta.net and you’ll find an events calendar, suggested itineraries and an extensive dining guide.
Perhaps the best thing about the website is the list of 50 Fun Things To Do where you can search by activity or neighborhood. Whether you want to explore the history of Atlanta or just want to shop, this list will give you some great ideas on where to go based on your interests.
Lauren Jarrell, director of communications at the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, says that the tourism industry produces an $11.4 billion impact for our city each year and is the second largest employer after government jobs. She also points out that Atlanta is a strong competitor to other big cities such as New York and Chicago. Much of our growth can be attributed to developmental projects such as the renewal of downtown. When asked what she would do as a tourist in her city she replies, “I’d look at what other Atlantans are doing.”
This is easy to do at atlanta.net because you can check out the ATLInsider, which has blogs where people talk about their favorite places along with what’s going on around the city. While you’re there you should also take a look at This Week in Atlanta located on the bottom right of the homepage. It features brief descriptions of events that are happening across Atlanta and can give you some great ideas on how to fill your time.
I like to practice what I preach so I’ll give you an idea of my perfect day as a tourist in Atlanta. First, I’d grab a couple of friends and head to the Flying Biscuit on Piedmont Avenue for some fried green tomatoes. Then I’d stroll over to Piedmont Park, spread out a blanket and people watch. Later I’d stroll through Little Five Points, grab some coffee and window shop. Finally, I’d end the day with some laughs at Whole World Improv Theatre on Spring Street.
Whatever you choose to do I encourage you all to look at Atlanta through the eyes of a tourist and really learn to appreciate the abundance of options that are available. I think we all deserve a little break from our routines and what better way to mix things up than to explore our great city.