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Offbeat

How to Fall in Love with Your City

We get it—we’re creatures of habit too. You go to the same brunch spots and bars that you forget how AWESOME your city really is and all it has to offer. So we’ve rounded up some ways to fall in love with your city again. Read on.

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1

Plan a staycation

There’s no better way to look at your city with fresh eyes than to have a staycation. Play tourist for a night by booking a room in a hotel you’ve always wanted to crash at. In NYC, we’d check into the always trendy NoMad Hotel. Besides its drop-dead gorgeous design (French-inspired Jacques Garcia interiors and a historic Beaux-Arts façade), guestrooms feel like Parisian pads with reclaimed maple floors, antique Heriz rugs, clawfoot tubs and vintage French photographs on the walls. It’s also home to a Michelin-starred restaurant, arguably the sexiest in the city. Here you can tuck into fine French fare, including a whole roasted chicken with foie gras, black truffle and brioche. Then wash the meal down with inventive cocktails at The NoMad Bar, or curl up with a book in the handsome Library. You may never want to go home.

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Photo courtesy of the Chicago Architecture Foundation

2

Join a tour

Who says being a tourist is a bad thing? Instead of scoffing at the camera-toting visitors, join them on a tour to learn more about your city. In Chicago, we love the architecture river cruise, where you can hop on a 90-minute scenic boat ride around the Windy City and hear the history behind its striking skyline. By the time you leave, you’ll have plenty of fun facts to fuel your cocktail conversations.

RELATED: Why You Should Be a Tourist

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3

Explore a different neighborhood

Ok, you got us. Sometimes we’re guilty of rarely venturing far from our own neighborhoods. But you’d be surprised to find that there are so many cool enclaves you’ve never explored. Take Miami—the city is a patchwork of cultures, with pockets like the artsy Wynwood, the vibrant Little Havana, and the chic Miami Design District. In Wynwood, spend a day exploring the colorful murals, studios and funky shops like Walt Grace Vintage, which sells retro cars and electric guitars, before having a craft beer at Concrete Beach Brewery's garden. Meanwhile, Little Havana is where to go for mouthwatering Cuban food. Walk down Calle Ocho, the main drag, and stop at El Pub Restaurant for picadillo-stuffed empanadas, then sip fresh-pressed guarapo (sugarcane juice), dark cafecito (Cuban coffee), or coco frio (chilled coconut water) at the charming open-air Los Pinarenos Fruteria. Top it off with a kick-ass mojito and live music in the backyard of Ball & Chain.

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Middle row photographed by Krescent Carasso and Kassie Borreson

4

Eat at a new restaurant

Next time you set out for your regular haunt, make a detour and try a cool new restaurant. San Francisco, for example, is brimming with new eateries. There’s August 1 Five for inventive Indian dishes, Bellota for Spanish tapas, and The Riddler, a champagne bar that serves a mean tater tot waffle topped with caviar and prosciutto or smoked salmon. After years of anticipation, Mister Jiu's just opened in Chinatown, and offers a five-course menu that’s revolutionizing contemporary Chinese cuisine (try the tea smoked duck). You may have also heard of Nightbird, Kim Alter’s splashy new SF restaurant that focuses on seasonal plates that change weekly (the oysters poached in dashi broth with shallots, citrus and fresh herbs is a must).

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Photo by Nic Lehoux

5

Take in the views

Nothing makes you appreciate a city more than a jaw-dropping view. (That’s why everyone loves rooftop season, right?!). And sure, NYC, Chicago and LA are all full of towering overlooks, but even the smaller cities can offer sweeping vistas. In Seattle, the just-opened Thompson hotel brings with it one of the city’s buzziest new bars, The Nest. This 3,500-square-foot rooftop terrace has spot-on views of Puget Sound, Mount Rainier, and the cityscape. Plus, with a creative cocktail list and a menu of small bites helmed by Seattle’s acclaimed chef, Josh Henderson, you’re sure to leave happily stuffed.

RELATED: The City Skylines We'll Never Get Sick of Looking At

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6

See some museums

Gone are the days of stuffy, old-school museums. Across the U.S., a crop of new galleries have opened—and nowhere is this more apparent than in LA. It all started when The Broad opened in late 2015 and put Los Angeles on the map as an artistic hotspot. Following that came the Sprüth Magers gallery, the Main Museum in downtown’s Old Bank District, and the Hauser Wirth & Schimmel gallery in the Arts District. On the horizon are the Institute of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (formerly the Santa Monica Museum of Art), the Marciano Art Foundation, a contemporary art museum from the Guess cofounders that debuts in Koreatown this May, plus the futuristic Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, a tribute to Star Wars’ filmmaker George Lucas in Exposition Park.

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