Do You Know Your Own City? 5 Benefits You Can Gain from Taking a Walking Tour
I love to travel. Yet because I have someone at home undergoing medical treatments, it’s been hard to leave town. Instead, I’ve been booking walking tours in my hometown of Los Angeles.
It gives me a chance to get away, explore the city, and learn more about its history and culture. It doesn’t really matter how big or small your town may be, there’s always something to see and discover.
So far, I’ve taken a tour of street art and graffiti in the LA Arts District, an inner-city neighborhood tour, a Victorian homes tour, and an old restaurants tour. All have been fascinating and fun.
I especially love quirky tours. They’re usually not as tourist-centric and are much more affordable. Below are a few of the benefits of taking walking tours that I find irresistible.
It Gets You Away from Home
It’s easy to find yourself attached to your computer but that can be isolating and takes you away from the real world. You may have a ton of friends online but never see them in real life. When you take a walking tour it’s a fun way to meet new people and make live connections.
Walking Is an Excellent Form of Exercise
Depending on your physical condition, you can book tours that are either challenging or easy. I love to walk, so the more walking that’s involved, the better for me. I always track my steps using an app on my phone, and you’ll be surprised at how many steps you’ll take on a walking tour.
If walking is a challenge, there are tours or lectures you can book that don’t require walking at all or are handicapped accessible. Always do your research beforehand to get the details in that regard.
History Is Always Fascinating
I love learning about the history of a location and stories that revolve around it. The Los Angeles Conservancy regularly conducts tours of historical locations in the city.
I get a kick out of hearing about shady happenings that may have gone on or colorful tales of people who used to live at the location I’m touring.
For instance, Los Angeles has a whole system of tunnels that were used to shuttle liquor during Prohibition as well as speakeasies that are still operating as trendy nightclubs today. I once attended a lecture all about the history of drinking in LA. It even included tasting vintage cocktails.
The Culture of a City Comes from Its Diverse Inhabitants
Los Angeles is a melting pot of immigrants that have come from all around the world. There are pockets in the city where people of various cultures have made homes. It has an impact on the art that’s created, the food, and the way people live.
When you learn more about an area in your town, it gives you a better understanding of how it came to be, the challenges people faced, and how they overcame adversity.
You Get to See Parts of the City You Wouldn’t Normally See
If you do your research, you can find walking tours that will show you locations that you would normally never see on a tour geared for tourists.
The LA Arts Tour I took was given by an actual graffiti artist who lives in the neighborhood. He was able to give us insight into the area from an artist’s point of view, while explaining the lingo and how the artwork was created.
Sometimes large tour companies get kickbacks from vendors when they take tourists to certain locations and urge them to buy something. You’ll rarely ever see that happen on a small group walking tour.
What If You Live in a Tiny Town?
There’s always something of interest to learn even if you live in a small town, or you may find a walking tour in a nearby location. Some people who are retired have even started businesses as walking tour operators – like a friend of mine who moved to Innsbruck, Austria, from the U.S A.
What kinds of walking tours are on offer in your home town? Have you taken one? What was it like? Do you have a favorite tour you want to let us know about? Please join the conversation and share your thoughts with our community.