A Tourist in Your Own Town
Sometimes the benefits of a vacation hide in plain sight on (or near) the streets where you already live. Six world-class cities have hidden treasures for the locals.
At Christmas, the Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas brings a light show to the street. Living there makes it possible to see the city with fresh eyes, if you can overlook the fact that you're living there. (© Walter Bibikow/Getty Images)
It's the time of year when many people are taking a break. Maybe money's tight and you can't go on a vacation, or maybe you don't have the time to leave for even a short trip. Sometimes the best place to be a tourist is your own city. After all, there's no place like home.
A Day in New York: Most New Yorkers spend their time working hard and playing hard -- going to work, riding the subway, getting dinner and drinks with friends. Stuck in the grind, it's easy to forget that many regard New York as the greatest city in the world. You might not feel up for the swarms of tourists in Times Square or the Empire State Building, but in the warmer months you can rekindle your love for the city with a long walk along the West Side Highway path.
A series of mini-parks in Battery Park give this New York City location a refreshing versatility a long way from the subway grind.(© Ivan Peralta Santana/Getty Images)
Start at the new city park, the Highline, a 1.45-mile nature trail built on a disused, elevated subway line, and walk south to Gansevoort in the Meatpacking District. Continue walking along the Hudson River bike and walking path, gazing at the river that divides New York and New Jersey. As you get farther south on the island, you'll come across a string of miniparks in Battery Park. When you reach the end, hop on the Staten Island ferry. The five-mile ride is 25 minutes long, but you'll get a close-up view of the Statue of Liberty, minus the annoying tourist claptrap. Best of all, it's free.
Lights and signboards and glitz, oh yeah: If you pretend you're a tourist, the diversions of the Strip in Las Vegas can be a liberating thing. (© DAJ/Getty Images)
A Day in Las Vegas: If you live in Las Vegas, the Strip is the last place you want to visit, especially if you work there. But if you pretend you're a tourist, you can see all that Vegas has to offer with fresh eyes. Bypass the high glamour (and high price tags) of the newer hotels and stay overnight at one of the older, cheesier hotels. Parts of the Tropicana, built in 1955, have been updated, but you'll still get a sampling of the kitschy tiki vibe inside -- mirrors, loud carpets and all.
Catch a cab to Downtown Las Vegas, a collection of casinos that predated those on the Strip, and check out the ultra-cheesy Fremont Street Experience. In 1994, the city built a $70 million light canopy -- a fancy description for "a roof that lights up" -- that plays light shows throughout the night. Bonus: You'll recognize Fremont Street from U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name" video.