Skip to main content

Visiting Cities

I like to visit cities. And I think most people would probably agree that they enjoy visiting new cities. But the cities we often visit are highly skewed by size. Bigger cities attract more visitors under the belief that they have more going on, and more stuff worth seeing and doing.

Every time I express interest in visiting a smaller city, one that's not one of America's top ten by size (think New York or San Francisco) or known for being a tourist destination (think Las Vegas or Orlando) I get the inevitable question response: why?

(from Flickr user sagarmohan)

When people look at a smaller city and say "there's nothing to do there" or "there's nothing going on there," what they typically mean is, "there isn't an abundance of cheesy touristy stuff there," to which I respond, who cares?

From my perspective, small cities are often ideal for short weekend visits. Hotels are inexpensive, things to do are inexpensive, and frankly, doing 'local-favorite' stuff can often be the most fun anyway. Obviously small cities have things to do, locals spend their time doing something... and usually you only have to ask to find out what those things are.

Time is finite, so even in a place with infinite things to do, only so many of them can be done in a single weekend. Even native New Yorkers often admit they have never experienced many of them gems of the Big Apple. How can a weekend traveler expect to experience them all as well?

This isn't meant to say that big cities aren't worth visiting. Indeed, they are very fun, and I've visited many of them myself in the past few years, but small cities have things to offer too. Maybe they aren't places you could ever imaging living full-time, but for a short visit, they can be fantastic.

Comments

Dave Reid said…
Agreed. Visiting all sorts of cities really is fun, and informative. PS put Milwaukee on your list!
Peter said…
I think I've decided that my favorite town in all of America is Augusta, GA -- just the mile or so that is downtown/Broad St. It's technically the second-biggest city in GA after Atlanta, but I only dig the downtown part. It's just excellent in every way, and is going to be even much better if they allow people to start biking around there.

As I develop my own personal philosophy/plan for how to energize downtowns/cities, I'm going to recommend they emulate the best of Broad St, Augusta, GA.
John Morris said…
I wish more small cities and cities in general had a single day when they opened up lots of buildings for tours.

Have you ever heard of Doors Open?

I went to a great event in Lowell, Mass a few years back.

http://www.doorsopenlowell.org/

I think this is done in other cities but rarely on a big scale.
John Morris said…
Pete,

Could you be more specific about what makes Augusta's downtown great.
Kristen said…
Can't agree more, plus, you should come visit us in Greensboro. We have a couple nice urbanist areas and our First Fridays are always awesome with lots of music, vendors and art galleries open and ready.

Popular posts from this blog

In Praise of Southwest's 'C' Boarding Group

A few weeks ago I saw a tweet from someone complaining that their Southwest Airlines boarding pass had been assigned A20 (meaning they would be at least one of the first twenty passengers to board the plane). Apparently this person though they should have been assigned a higher number, less their flight experience be considerably spoiled.

Despite the complaints, Southwest has resisted demands to assign seats on its flights, a decision which I personally applaud. I'll admit that I was skeptical when they rolled out the newest boarding procedure, assigning both boarding groups and a line number; but in hindsight it seems like one of the best operational decisions they've ever made. If nothing else, it effectively eliminated the infamous "cattle call" whereby fliers were getting to airports hours in advance and sitting in line on the floor as if they were waiting for the midnight showing of the new Star Wars movie.

When I was an intern at Southwest Airlines last winter, I…

So You Want to be a Southwest Airlines Intern?

My personal website must have pretty decent SEO - because in the past year, I've received about two dozen emails from aspiring Southwest Airlines interns looking to draw on my experience in search of their own dream internship. In the past two weeks alone a few new emails have already started rolling in...

(from flickr user San Diego Shooter)

If you've found your way here, you might be hoping for the silver bullet; a secret tip that will propel you above the competition. Unfortunately, I do not know any inside secrets. I can only share my experience as an internship candidate about two years ago and, rather than responding individually to future emails I anticipate to receive, I hope that potential interns will find the information posted here valuable.

Understand: Southwest Airlines is a very unique company. The corporate culture at Southwest is truly unlike that of nearly every other company. But you probably already knew that, since it now seems mandatory for every management,…

Good Advertising

The blogosphere seems to be one fire over Microsoft's new "Lauren" TV commercial. Frankly, I don't see what the commotion is about.



If the critics are correct, then "Lauren" is actually Lauren De Long, a Screen Actors Guild eligible actress; and apparently, if you look close enough, she never even enters the Apple store.

Even if all of that is true, it doesn't refute the fact that Apple's laptops are significantly more expensive than most PCs. It isn't a lie that Apple doesn't sell any 17-inch laptops for less than a grand. The advertisement doesn't make any reference to the quality of the machines (or contest any of the claims made in Apple's "I'm a PC" commercials) or provide any good reason to buy one other than price.

As far as I can tell, after years of horrible commercials and a series of flops, Microsoft seems to finally have hired an ad agency that put together a decent advertisement. It's not likely to persuad…