Top 10 ideas for how to be a tourist in your own hometown

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Top 10 ideas for How to be a tourist in your own hometown

When we usually think about travel, thoughts of foreign lands and far away places flash across our minds. We certainly don’t think about travelling as staying in our own backyard, am I right? But becoming a tourist in your own hometown is the perfect way to save money and your holiday allowance whilst getting to know your city in a whole new way. Here are my top 10 ideas for how to be a tourist in your own hometown!

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1) Do your research

Treat your hometown like any other destination and do your research.

Visit your tourism board’s website, read blogs and watch YouTube videos to find out what other people enjoy most about visiting your hometown.

You’ll be surprised by how many places you didn’t think about visiting!

Mel wearing a top hat and pretending to read a large book inside Manchester library
Doing some research at the historic John Rylands Library in my hometown of Manchester ;)

2) Go on a guided tour

I always suggest going on a walking tour in every city you visit because they’re a great way of familiarising yourself with a new place.

But tours aren’t just good for familiarising yourself with a new city. They’re also a fantastic way of familiarising yourself with fun facts and features of your OWN city that you never even knew about!

I went on a guided tour of the town hall in my hometown of Manchester a few years ago but I must admit I had quite low expectations. After all, I’d lived within two miles of the town hall for about 10 years, so what did I not know about it by now?

Well, it turns out I knew nothing about Manchester Town Hall!

On the tour I learned all about its creation, lots of fun facts and how it was involved in Manchester’s industrial beginnings.

It was fascinating and so beautiful inside too! It was honestly one of the most informative tours I have ever taken.

So don’t worry about being a local – book that tour! You’ll ALWAYS learn something new.

You can find tours in your area through Viator, which is one of my favourite, go-to tour sites.

Manchester Town Hall on a sunny day

3) Visit a local museum or art gallery

We all have amazing museums and art galleries in our hometowns or closest cities that we only visit once in a blue moon (if at all!).

So why not check out the local museums and art galleries in your area just like the tourists do?

Even if you’ve been before, there are always seasonal exhibitions going on or special events taking place that you’ve never seen before.

In Manchester we have so many fantastic museums on everything from natural history and science and industry to football and the people of Manchester…and that’s just in the city centre!

Imagine how many museums you’ve not discovered or visited in your city yet!

Mel posing in front of Stan the T Rev skeleton at the Museum of Manchester
Visiting Stan the T-Rex at the Museum of Manchester

4) Explore a part of town you hardly (or never!) go to

There are so many different sides to every city that even if it’s your hometown, you can’t possibly know each district inside out!

There are several areas of Manchester’s city centre such as the Northern Quarter and China Town that I don’t visit often, but it doesn’t mean they’re not awesome places to go!

If you want to feel like most tourists do, have a wander through these districts and you never know what hidden gems you may find along the way.

So often you’ll find specific quarters of your hometown are so unique that they’re like visiting a while different city within a city! There’s so much to uncover.

Mel stood in front of the ornate Chinatown sign in Manchester wearing a pink bobble hat

5) Try out a new restaurant you’ve never been to

So often in our own cities we play it safe and keep returning to our favourite restaurants.

But the whole eating out landscape has shifted massively since the pandemic with existing restaurants relaunching and new restaurants opening.

Which makes this the perfect time to try out new restaurants as if you were visiting your city for the first time!

I recently went to a friend’s birthday party at a restaurant I didn’t even know existed in my hometown. It turned out to be a real authentic vegan greek food experience with amazing vegan tapas and Zorba dancing!

It was a great night with lovely food and fantastic entertainment which makes you feel like you could be in an actual greek tavern on holiday.

I couldn’t believe that it had been in Manchester for over 30 years and I never even knew about it!

The Happy Cow app is also a great resource for anyone looking to research restaurants in their area. It’s mostly used by vegans and vegetarians to scope out food places that will cater for them but the filters allow you to look at everything.

You can also bookmark restaurants whilst you’re looking and search by certain key words and specific cuisines.

Mel tucking into a savoury Indian pancake at the Tiffin Room in Manchester wearing blue overalls

6) Learn more about your hometown’s history

No matter how long you have lived in a place, there will always be parts of your town’s history or legacy you weren’t aware of. 

I kid you not, this Grade 1 listed Tudor manor below was less than half an hour’s walk away from my house for two years before I found out about it!

It wasn’t until I got a job in an office opposite Ordsall Hall that I even knew it was there – which is shocking on my part I know!

Especially as this house is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Manchester – dating back over 750 years! It plays an important (but apparently secretive!) part in Manchester’s history.

I highly recommend spending the time to find out more about the history of your hometown.

Indulge in what secrets lie beneath the glossy travel guides and tourist information points and have fun learning about a side of your hometown you never knew about!

Ordsall Hall in Manchester - a Tudor building with a green lawn in front

7) Change your perspective

One of the best parts about being a tourist in your own hometown is capturing the insane views that as a local we don’t normally bother with.

By changing your perspective, you’ll appreciate a whole new side to your hometown.

There are endless view points you can look at too, from your city centre to your nearest park – you’re bound to find a new outlook just around the corner!

In Manchester, the Hilton Hotel has the best view of the skyline from their cocktail bar, Cloud23. The panoramic views are incredible and there is even a glass platform on the floor so you can see all the way down, which is cool.

Make a shortlist of some of the fantastic views points in your city and work your way down it. This could also be a great drinking game come to think of it!

Skyline of Manchester from the window of the bar Cloud 23 with an orange cocktail in being held up in the foreground
Panoramic views of Manchester from the Hilton’s Cloud23 cocktail bar

8) Take a friend around your favourite local spots

This has to be one of my favourite ways of being a tourist in your own hometown!

Nothing beats showing those you love, around the place you love and seeing it for the first time again through their eyes!

My friend Vicky from Miami who owns Buddy the Traveling Monkey, came to visit me in Manchester over Christmas and I couldn’t wait to show her and her boyfriend Mark around all my favourite local spots!

Vicky and Mark had never been to Manchester before so we were on a sightseeing mission and had a blast!

I loved taking them to my favourite Alice in Wonderland themed afternoon tea, Manchester’s People Museum and for cocktails in one of my favourite fancy bars with a view.

Vicky and Mark came at a special time of year too as it was Christmas time and Manchester has one of the best Christmas markets in Europe!

I’m guilty of not visiting the markets every year because of the crowds but I had so much fun showing them round.

I felt like I was experiencing them for the first time as a tourist myself and it was a great reminder of how lucky we are that we have such amazing Christmas markets on our doorstep every year too!

Mel and Vicky smiling at the Christmas Markets in Manchester with a German windmill in the background
Me and Vicky at Manchester Christmas Market

9) Join a meet up group

Joining meet ups is a great way to connect and share ideas with other people in your local area. You can search for them on sites such as Eventbrite and

There are also ways you can explore your city just like a tourist through shared interests such as photography with InstaMeets.

I personally love connecting with other bloggers in my area at local meet ups!

Mel posing with some blogger friends at a meet up with in Manchester
Making new blogger friends at a meet up with in Manchester

10) Join in on local events

Ironically, as a tourist you’re more likely to get involved with local events to feel like a local. Whereas as a local you’re more likely looking for events everywhere else!

Going to local events is a great way to feel like a tourist in your own hometown as well as feel part of your community – which is a win win situation.

Make the effort and keep track of fun upcoming local events that you’d like to get involved with and you’ll wonder why you never went before!

Events can include: sports games, themed nights, charity fairs and festivals…or even a marathon! 😉

Mel holding up her marathon medal by the finish line at the Manchester Museum
Proud to have completed the Manchester Marathon!

If you’d like more ideas for on how to be a tourist in your hometown I highly recommend the book, ‘The Art of Being a Tourist at Home: Expand Your World Without Leaving Your Home Town’. Jenny Herbert does a fantastic job of helping you get the most out of your city!

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What ways do you like to be a tourist in your own hometown? Have you got any favourite places that you take friends and family to when they visit? 😄

Quick FYI guys – this post contains affiliate links to products and tours I recommend. I will receive a small commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

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