By Maddie Rodriguez

Being a Tourist in Your Own Town
for the Long Weekend.

As pictures roll in of friends using the long weekend to launch the first wing of their multi-city European vacations or spend it sprawled blissfully in Muskoka chairs at the cottage, it’s hard not to feel a twinge of envy, especially if you’re not travelling anywhere for the foreseeable future. But I find that the best cure for long weekend FOMO is to take the opportunity to be a tourist in your own town.

To be clear, I’m not (just) talking about hitting up a festival, an exclusive event or the latest foodie-approved restaurant. I’m talking about the big, obvious, friendly spots that would be first on a visitor’s agenda but that us locals tend to overlook or find too cliché.

Parks are a classic for a reason, especially here in the NCR. The truth is that with a little creativity and the right frame of mind, there’s nothing a cottage offers that one of our local green spaces—whether it’s the lush wooded trails of Gatineau Park, the watery spray of Hog’s Back falls or just your friendly neighbourhood patch of grass—can’t. Pack some food, a folding chair, a good book and your SPF and enjoy that park life.

If the weather isn’t cooperating or you’re just not feeling particularly outdoorsy, another beautiful option is one of the many rich galleries the capital offers. What better way to spend a long weekend than feeding your eyes, mind and soul with homegrown art or an on-loan treasure trove of historical artifacts? And really, travelling across the country, around the world and back in time? Not bad for the price of a single ticket.

We can forget, living here day in and day out, what a gorgeous, vibrant city Ottawa can be especially when it has shed its thick layer of winter chill. So if you’re city-bound this weekend, try to remember that there can be joy in letting go of the hometown eyeroll and really looking at your hometown with fresh eyes. Happy local long weekend, everyone!