Embracing your inner tourist.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/wjj9pq/all-good-things-flow-into-the-city-where-we-ignore-them
Embracing your inner tourist.
“All good things flow into the city”
Yeah, we all float down here.
I’d say if you’re visiting a city for a couple of days, try visiting a museum or historic site (in some cases that might even mean a sports stadium). Yes, do your research and see something you’d be interested in, but it’s a great way to burn some hours before a dinner reservation and have a nice afternoon. Also, you might learn something or see some dope art.
Now if you’re ever visiting Baltimore there are two places I’d say are amazing visits:
I live in London now, and, now that I’ve graduated from university, I really have no excuse for not doing all the tourist-y things I could be doing. I’ve barely skimmed the surface of the British Museum, never mind the Imperial War Museum or the half-dozen interesting little places that have built up in this sprawling metropolis.
But, for me, my biggest civic oversight is closer to where I’m from, the South Wales Valleys. To cut an important regional story short for brevity, the Valleys, today, are a grand monument to what they were thirty-plus years ago, which was one of the coal mining heartlands of the UK and the labour movement (before Margaret Thatcher closed them). Until I moved to London for university, I feigned disinterest in my own heritage and the importance of the coal mines in the history of my region, my family, and my politics. It’s only been in the last summer that I started to engage more with what it was, started to visit the old collieries (or, for some, their ruins—for others, the parking lots built on top of them), and ask people what their experiences of them were.
I’ve never denied their importance, but I’ve only recently started to engage with the living memory of what they were to the area. This might not be a very ‘city’-based answer, but, well, it’s my answer to the question.
I went to school literally next door to the Phipps Conservatory, a Pittsburgh landmark full of botanical wonderment. Despite having free admission during my college years, I never got around to it. And I didn’t make time to in either of my subsequent visits to the city either.
I regret that, although I still don’t feel properly guilty about never going to Heinz field, or taking in a dirt cheap Pirates game.
I’ve lived in Kansas City my entire life, and I never went to the World War 1 museum we have. I think it may be one of the only museum completely dedicated to the WW1 in the US. I was blown away by how well done it was. Also Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque, I didn’t have until I was 16 which is way too late for anyone who grows up in KC.
Haha, is the fudge shop line a reference to Mackinac Island? I’ve also been there and was blown away by the fudge density.
I would say, as a New Yorker, the Met is basically required. Don’t let them guilt you into paying money though. It’s free, and their suggested donation is just a suggestion.
Also, Prospect Park.
To anyone visiting OKC, I’d recommend visiting the Oklahoma City National Memorial. Thankfully my parents took my brother and me there within a month of moving here years ago. It’s a beautiful memorial (especially in the evening) and has a decent museum next door.
I’m yet to partake in any tornado chasing, and I definitely don’t make light of the risk and damage they can wreak on communities here, but just seeing them and the shear spectacle of a natural phenomenon like that has been breathtaking to someone like me who had never seen one in person before.
All the places I take visiting friends are almost semi-educational field trips to the zoo or to the Everglades. Sometimes, if there’s something neat like The Youth Fair, we go there too. I live about an hour away from Miami (on a good day) and an hour away from the Keys (depending on which Key you wanna go to), so as much as I’d like to take people who come to see me over to bigger tourist places like South Beach or Duval Street? Nah. I can’t drive, and no one I know is like “Yeah, I’d love to drive an hour for some tourist-y shit.”
Likewise, I don’t ever really go places for places. I’m more likely to go somewhere because I wanna visit someone I know. Sometimes, we end up going to really well-known local places. I’ve been to Stormcrow Tavren when I went to Vancouver, and also to Davie Village b/c me and all my friends are queer and there isn’t a place like that in Miami, really.
Unfortunately, because I live in the Miami area, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of tourists. Mostly, it’s because I have to live here and they get to go home and boy, do we sure get a lot of people who milk that for what it’s worth.
I now live in a small town at the north end of the Alaskan panhandle (that bit down in the corner by BC). Our nearest neighbor, Skagway, is the cruise ship Disneyland of the north and is rightly mocked by people throughout the state as a tourist trap. It is filled with corporate owned jewelry stores run by foreigners who hop on down to the Caribbean for winter cruise season. It looks like the set of a cheesy movie about the frontier days complete with an ancient stream engine driven train that runs through town and up into Canada. The rest is shitty Chinese made plastic junk that says Alaska all over it. It is, frankly, a disgusting example of consumerism run amok.
BUT I’ve always had a soft spot for it since I went there to hike the Chilkoot trail as a 14 year old and I just recently hopped a few over to it to enjoy a weekend with my partner. We had a great time. The city museum was in a beautiful old stone building (110 years is ancient in Alaska) full of really interesting artifacts and art from the Gold Rush days up through WW2. There was a great distillery and brewery, with astounding Texas BBQ. Hiking trails shoot up the steep mountainsides about a 5 minutes walk from Main Street. The older neighborhoods are full of well maintained Victorian houses. There was rock and gem shop in a back alley where I listened to two old men debate the best sources of some rare mineral. In short, still a silly place that is built around a fiction, but damn charming. When I am getting weary of my much more real life I will definitely hop over there again. And if you ever find yourself on an Alaskan cruise you should give Skagway a chance, just get off of the main drag.
I’ve lived in Boston for over a decade myself and I only just went on a duck tour this last month. I still haven’t taken a vacation on the cape, and I’ve never been to the Garden to see the Celtics or the Bruins somehow. Unlike Rob I’ve been to Fenway once but it’s been years and I’m eager to go back. Maybe a Boston Waypoint baseball game is in order next year?