By Emily Haney
Whether you find yourself stuck in the same routine or crunched for time, the day has arrived to take a study break and branch out a little. Adopting the mindset of a tourist can help. A tourist is always travel ready with a camera in hand and tries to visit all the top attractions in a week or less. The goal is to see as much in as little time as possible. If you develop the tourist mindset where you live, you can get more than a glimpse of a place and experience all the popular spots and then some. If you’re looking to find more where you live and become a tourist at home, here are some places to start.
GO TO A SHOW:
A night of music, theater or comedy is waiting for you. In Athens, the comedy scene can be a little difficult to locate. However, on certain nights of the month, bars like The World Famous host stand up events. “I went to one show there called The Good Stuff. The place was packed, but I had a good time,” says Maureen Sheeran, a sophomore journalism major from Atlanta. “It was a good way to unwind after a long day and just laugh.” The World Famous even has a stage side of the venue that can be closed off to accommodate events like stand up. With the list of entertainment venues in Athens being so exhaustive, there’s a show for everyone.
TRY A NEW RESTAURANT:
Every corner you turn in Athens, there’s a different restaurant. The trick is to find one that fits your tastes. If you’re looking for a pizza place that isn’t a chain restaurant, Automatic Pizza is the spot for you to fulfill those cheesy cravings. “It’s kind of the same style as other pizza places,” says James Shefer, a senior education major from Lawrenceville. “You pick your toppings and such, but it’s crisper and more of an Italian Style.” Only one of the many restaurants located in Athens, Automatic Pizza offers an intimate dining experience with affordable food options. If you’re not in the mood for pizza, try one of Athens other great restaurant options.
Seeking out your town’s traditions can be a way to get up close and personal with the roots of your town. Locating traditions has been made easy in Athens thanks to the UGA Alumni Association’s G Book, which is chock full of traditions. One of the traditions that you can work on completing any day of the year is locating the decorated bulldog statues around the city and taking a picture with each one. If you’re feeling extra creative, bring props along or do a different pose for each photo. With over thirty-six statues residing in Athens, this is not an easy feat, but you are sure to produce some amusing photos. Crossing items off a list of traditions can be a great way to experience another side of a town.
FIND A PARK OR GARDEN:
When exploring somewhere, even where you live, don’t overlook the outdoors. The State Botanical Garden, located conveniently close to campus, offers a connection straight to nature. On a sunny day, the nature trails are the place to be. Surrounded by lush scenery and following along the river, you won’t be at a loss for visuals. Try packing a lunch too because there are tables and benches along the paths. If you’re not much for hiking, there are countless garden areas equipped with fountains and archways, a perfect location to relax or study. A local park or garden can have just as much to offer as any indoor attraction.
Full of unique boutiques, bookstores and record stores, downtown areas like in Athens offer a unique view of a town. A way to help out an independent boutique and the local economy is to shop at Native America Gallery. “They have turquoise everything and good sales around winter,” says Kelsey Hamilton, a senior French and psychology major from Atlanta. “Even though the store tends to be more expensive, they make an effort to have affordable jewelry.” Alongside the turquoise collection, you can find a vast array of earth-toned hand crafted pieces. Downtown areas are one big treasure hunt waiting to happen.
Becoming a tourist, or in a sense, more connected to where you live is a lot easier than you might think. Simply taking the time to move away from normal routine and trying something new is the place to start. See a play. Eat at a restaurant your friend suggested. Partake in a local tradition. Walk through a garden. Wander through some unique stores. Don’t be afraid to try something new. March out your door, camera in hand, and go on the hunt for a new tourist destination right outside your home.