Living in a big city has a lot of benefits, like public transportation, cultural activities, and a wide range of places to eat and things to do. But there's a downside to packing all that good stuff into a somewhat small geographical area: It creates a severe lack of green space, and limited access to the sun, open sky, and stillness that makes being outdoors so therapeutic.
During the summer, city residents might be tempted to throw up their hands and head to the movie theaters--but wait! There's plenty of beneficial outdoor goodness to be had within the confines of a big metropolis; you simply have to know where to look.
1. Go On A Walking Tour
You may live there, but when’s the last time you explored your city? I know lots of city slickers who have never even visited their town’s most famous or historic spots. This summer, grab your camera and fanny pack and get ready to play tourist. Sign up for a walking tour, take a ferry ride, or browse peer-to-peer experience sites like Vayable and Get Your Guide to have a local guide you on a voyage of street art, food truck gatherings, or local caving spots!
2. Park it at the Park
Parks were created to be an oasis from the actual jungle, and every major city has a public park system. We all know the big ones like Central Park or San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, but there are hundreds of others, tucked into neighborhoods and areas that enjoy far less traffic.
This summer, why not look up a map of your city’s park system, and make a plan to spend some time at a handful that you’ve never visited before? Bring your sunscreen, a good book, a picnic or a friend, and bask in the breeze and fresh grass.
3. Explore Your Amphibian Side
If your city has a river or lake within its borders, there are probably many ways to get out on the water. In NYC, Downtown Boathouse offers free kayaking in the Hudson every weekend from morning till night.
In Chicago, it’s possible to try everything from stand-up paddle boarding to water skiing. And if you like fishing, or want to give your kids a chance to try this classic summertime activity, plenty of cities have primo spots within eye-shot of the skyscrapers.
4. Get Psyched About Your Bike
Although summer may indicate lazy vacation time for the kiddos, there no break in store for adults. We’ve still got work, the gym, and social activities to deal with. If your time for getting outdoors is limited, why not work it into your way?
Dust off that two-wheeled speed demon and bike anywhere and everywhere you can. To work, to school, to happy hour, or to a dinner party. Don’t have a bike? Look for a city bike sharing program with stations in your area.