Be a Tourist in Your Own Town

Updated: May 7, 2020

Greeley Freight Train Museum
Did you know there is a famous train museum in Greeley? Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer. 2012

As tourists, we take the time to learn the history and hidden secrets of the places we visit, but how many of us know the story of our own town?

Earlier this year, I wrote a post entitled, “Become an advocate for your town,” and today’s post has a similar feel, although I fear I’m going to get preachier. In that piece, I gave you five ways to become an advocate because your advocacy will result in a positive economic impact on your town.

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Today, I want to inspire you to become a tourist in your own town because it will enrich your life. HeidiTown is about festivals, events, and travel in Colorado, however, this post is for people who live in Florida, California, or anywhere in between. Every town has a different tale to tell, but many of us don’t know our community’s story.

This post was inspired by two recent incidents. Earlier this fall I attended an event held at the Colorado Model Railroad Museum in Greeley, Colorado. Most of those in attendance were from Greeley, but none of the thirty-some people there had ever been to the museum before.

Train enthusiasts come from around the world to visit this museum. It’s truly one-of-a-kind, but many who live in the region haven’t stepped foot in the building.

Tread of Pioneers Museum Colorado
Tread of Pioneers Museum in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer/February 2011.

I had a similar experience earlier this month in Steamboat Springs. While there I took a walking tour presented by the Tread of Pioneers Museum downtown.

I’ve been to Steamboat Springs a number of times but was surprised to realize I knew very little about the history of the town. I was even more startled when our tour guide informed us that she’s been giving these historical tours twice a week for a year and no local has ever been on the walk. In fact, locals seldom visit the museum, unless it’s a group of school children.

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It’s time we all became tourists in our own towns. There’s no doubt in my mind that knowing your town’s story and hidden treasures will enrich your life. It may even make you a little prouder about where you live. So this weekend, get out and discover your town; visit a museum, visit your town’s Visitors Center, and find out what hidden gems are right outside your front door.

May 7, 2020: Some of these locations may be closed due to COVID-19, but this is still a great time to visit your local parks. You can also order your favorite meal to-go or patron your favorite store. In Colorado, some theaters are actually allowing for the purchase of popcorn to go! Maybe this doesn’t advance the cause of tourism but it is awesome.

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