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How to be a Tourist in Your Own City

Gillian Thomson Edmonton
by Gillian Thomson

Put your camera in your fanny pack, lace up some comfy shoes, and tie a sweater around your waist for you are about to embark on a tourist’s adventure in your own city!

To be a tourist in your hometown, treat the staycation like you would any other big trip: set a budget, plan ahead, and tell your friends you’re going away. To make the experience of “visiting” Edmonton as authentic as possible, stick to these guidelines:

• Make a plan. Pack your days full of new restaurants and activities and don’t leave any wiggle room for pit stops or eating at home.
• Stay in a hotel/bed & breakfast or swap houses with friends. (Psst! We’ve got travel deals to share)
• Step outside your comfort zone and go places you won’t run into anyone you know.
• Turn your phone off! Pretend you’re roaming and forgot to get a travel plan. But if you must keep your phone on, don't forget to #exploreedmonton for any cool things you find or snap pics of.
• Wear versatile clothing or bring items to layer. No stopping at home for quick wardrobe changes!
• Pay attention to details. Look at your surroundings like you’ve never seen them before.
• Think: what would you do if you were showing your out-of-town guests around?

For some extra touristy inspiration while you plan your vacation, challenge yourself to some (or all!) of these:

• Cheer on a local sports team
• Watch live actors in a local theatre production
• Bring home a souvenir that says Edmonton (anything from a pen at a local attraction or a piece of art from an Edmonton artist)
• Snap a photo at a statue or public art
• Laugh out loud at an improv or stand-up comedy show
• Find a lookout point with a plaque that will tell you something interesting about where you’re standing
• Go somewhere that you have to pay admission (museum/gallery, Fort Edmonton Park, festival)
• Send a postcard (even if it’s to yourself!)
• Walk across a bridge that crosses the North Saskatchewan River
• Stop at a Visitor Centre and discover something new to try.
• Buy an outfit from a store that’s only found in Edmonton (bonus points if it’s a local designer too)
• Learn something fascinating about Edmonton’s history through a guided tour
• Take a mode of transportation you’re not used to
• Find a new-to-you-building that’s hidden in plain sight
• Ask a stranger what they recommend to see or do in Edmonton

Of course, Explore Edmonton is a priceless resource for people interested in visiting our city, but it’s also a wealth of information for those lucky enough to live here.

Be sure to share photos of your tourist adventures using #ExploreEdmonton. We share all our favourite photos snapped by Edmontonians on Instagram (@exploreedmonton). Bon voyage!