While being a tour guide myself has helped spark my curiosity and explore my own city of New York as a tourist, it wasn’t always this way. Too often, locals take their own backyard for granted, assuring themselves they’ll see the sights “next week” or “some other time,” believing they’ll always have access to them.
There’s no day like the present, which is why I want to encourage you all to start exploring your city this month…this week…this weekend…today.
One company I’ve been working with for over two years now is Viator, a resource for researching, finding and booking tours around the world. Not only have they helped me explore destinations like Turkey, Nashville and Greece, but New York City, my own home.
Before taking a Viator Exclusive: Statue of Liberty Monument Access and 9/11 Memorial I’d never been to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island or the 9/11 Memorial. As someone who’s from New York, whose grandparents came through Ellis Island from Italy, and who remembers what New York was like during 9/11, this was a travesty. The experience gave me some background into my own heritage — did you know 40% of the United States traces their heritage back to Ellis Island? — gave me insight into NYC’s beginnings in Lower Manhattan, and, at times, moved me to tears hearing immigrant stories in the Statue of Liberty Museum and those of the 9/11 victims.
It was a really important day for me. Despite these being “tourist attractions,” as I local I now find myself visiting them regularly.
Another tour I loved was the Mad Men Cocktail Tour of New York. While not as historical, I got to learn through the palate about one of my all-time favorite shows — doing one of my all-time favorite activities (cocktail crawling) — with a local. My guide was actually one of the reasons I started offering private tours through my blog, and we’re still friends to this day (hey, Dante!).
These are just a few of many awesome NYC tours Viator offers, all led by local experts.
A Fun Summer Contest
Along with their tours, Viator has created a 25-item list to help both locals and visitors explore NYC. Your challenge: do as many as you can this summer and share images from your experiences on Instagram using the hashtags #viatormycity and #travelwithaninsider. At the end of the campaign — August 31, 2015 — Viator will choose a winner for a $500 Viator gift certificate.
Click here for full contest rules.
Which items on the list have you conquered already? Any you haven’t? Please share in the comments below.
This post was sponsored by Viator. Along with taking their tours regularly at home and on my travels, I write for a number of their blogs, including the NYC Things To Do Blog. Check it out!