Healthy Body  >  How to Fall in Love with Your City This Summer

How to Fall in Love with Your City This Summer

This summer looks and feels different than other summers, doesn’t it?

We’re probably not boarding flights to see family cross-country. We’re not road tripping to packed baseball stadiums or music festivals.

Trips might be cancelled, European vacations postponed, and favorite destinations shuttered for the year.

Many of us are looking at spending our summers, well, at home. We’re hanging out on our patios, our backyards, and sticking around our hometowns during this strange season. (And if these are our biggest concerns during this hard time - WE ARE SO LUCKY!)

For a long time, I had a less-than-great attitude about my adopted city of Washington, DC. I grew up in southern California and spent years complaining about life here in DC:

The food isn’t as healthy here. The culture is so different here. The weather is unpredictable here. The people don’t ‘get’ me here.

But when I realized my attitude was affecting my overall happiness, I started to focus on all the good stuff and immerse myself in life around me.

Over time, I stopped longing for my old city and wishing I was there. I embraced DC and everything it offers—historic buildings, beautiful walking trails in the woods, four distinct seasons. Now I really live here, not just physically but emotionally, too.

One of the great lessons of adulthood is that you can create paradise wherever you are. It all starts with your mindset. And now - more than ever - this is important.

You can live in Hawaii surrounded by coconut fronds and rainbows and have a sour attitude about life. You can live in rural Ohio, in a small town that many would consider “boring,” and you choose to find beauty and inspiration all around.

If you’ve been feeling “blah” about your city and staying closer to home this summer - try reframing this season as an opportunity to truly get to know + love everything your hometown has to offer. There’s probably more than you think!

6 Ways to Have a Great Summer Without Leaving Your City

Explore all the outdoor spaces that support your hobbies As we’re all trying to avoid crowded, indoor spaces, let’s make the most of our city’s outdoor spaces.

Like rock climbing? See if there are any bluffs, rock faces or bouldering opportunities for you. Where are all the running trails? The off-leash dog parks? The botanical gardens filled with unusual roses?

Often, we find one or two places we like and go to them over and over again. (Raising my hand here!) But I bet your city has tons of hiking trails or picnic spots you’ve never explored.

FINALLY visit the local tourist attractions you’ve never prioritized Many of us know which attractions, museums, and sites tourists visit in our cities, but we never go because they’re “always there.” Make it a point to visit them this summer!

If you’re not sure where to start, check out your local tourism board’s website or the TripAdvisor recommendations for your city. Prefer off-the-beaten path stuff? Check out Atlas Obscura’s listings for your city - today I learned that DC has a National Bonsai Museum??

Find the best ________ your city has to offer Roam around your city and hunt for the best kale salad, the best bench to watch the sunset, the best spot for stargazing, the best [whatever you love most]. Find all the gems.

Personally, I’m on a hunt for the best juice. Thus far, my favorite is the Mint Warrior from Fight Juice, but I’m searching for others, too!

Get to know your neighbors (from six feet away) Only 25% of people know their next-door neighbor’s names. Do you?

Introduce yourself next time you’re out walking the dog. Coordinate a front yard, socially-distant, everyone-brings-their own drink happy hour. Now more than ever, we need to support our communities and make sure no one is falling through the cracks - let this be the nudge you’ve needed!

Spend a day in a totally different neighborhood Most of us find ourselves shopping and dining in the same parts of town over and over again. But there are pockets of our cities we’ve never explored! Why not make a day of exploring a totally different part of town?

Buy ice cream from a new shop, eat it in a park you’ve never visited, poke around farmer’s markets across town, admire houses you haven’t walked past before, grab dinner in a restaurant you’ve never tried. You might only be a few miles from home, but it can feel like a completely new and novel experience!

Embrace the French art of flânerie Everything sounds more exciting when you say it in French, right? A flânerie is, essentially, a long, pleasant stroll that is meant to be its own source of entertainment. You’re not walking as a mode of transportation, you’re strolling through the city because it’s an enjoyable thing to do.

If you’d like a bit more structure to your flânerie, map out a walking route that will take you past some particularly enjoyable places - maybe next to a body of water, through a historic neighborhood, or near a sculpture garden. Take a taxi to a great breakfast place and then spend the rest of your day walking home through the city, with lots of stops along the way.

Experience your city like a tourist, with fresh eyes and excitement. This might be the summer you fall in love with your hometown all over again—or maybe for the very first time.

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