If you live in a place that is any sort of tourist destination there are probably a number of things that were designed specifically to entertain tourists that you as a local avoid like the plague. Here in Baltimore the Inner Harbor is the touristy area that most locals avoid unless they are hosting some visitors to our fine city. Most of the touristy type things I’ve done have been because I’ve been entertaining non-locals, but every once in awhile it’s fun to strap on your tourist hat and do some of things even when you’re not hosting out-of-town guests.
Baltimore being on the water as it is has no shortage of water/boat related tourist activities. I have done most of them. I went on the Spirit Cruises dinner cruise with an ex-boyfriend and his mother. I took my visiting family on the Duck Boat Tour and the Clipper Ship, neither of which exist in Baltimore anymore. My husband I also did the living history cruise on the S.S. John Brown liberty ship. That is less of a tourist thing though because it only sails a couple times a year and is rather pricy. It was really neat though, and I highly recommend it to anybody who is into history.
However, thanks to Groupon I have also enjoyed some of these activities for random fun with friends because why not take advantage of really cheap deals to do fun touristy type things even if you aren’t one. A large group of us bought the Groupon last fall for the Urban Pirate Cruise, which was silly but quite fun. Then recently there was a Groupon for the SeaDog Speedboat Tour. So this morning four of us headed down to the Inner Harbor to enjoy an hour tour and speedboat ride. Even after all the other boat tours I’ve done, I still learned some new things about Baltimore…maybe. Being a longtime resident I definitely caught some factual errors in our tour guides spiel, so perhaps the things I didn’t know aren’t really true but oh well. It was still a fun activity and well worth my $12.
There are a number of other places that are less tourist trappy, but still places tourists are inclined to go that I should really visit. When you live somewhere you tend to think that these places will always be there and you’ll get to them some day but then never go. A number of years ago I had a list from somewhere (Baltimore Magazine perhaps?) that listed 100 things you should do in Baltimore. It’s actually where I heard about the S.S. John Brown. I was trying to work my way through it at one point and did a decent job for awhile, but then got busy and let it fall by the wayside. I know a number of things on the list are no longer possible to do, but I should really hunt it down and make an effort to do some of the things I still haven’t done.
What are your favorite ways to play tourist in your city?