Personally, I adore wide open spaces, fresh air, and wildlife. There’s no denying that my default state is in the country (native Alabamian here ). However, I find cities incredible cultural hubs that offer many attractions simply unparalleled in country life like quality museums, urban street art, seamless public transport, and exposure to people from all over this planet. That being said, even the most accustomed city rats can dream of an idyllic weekend alone in nature.
If pounding the pavement has drained your spirit, here are some things you can do to cure the urban hustle without leaving the city.
- Hit Up Your Local Park: This one might seem like a no-brainer but it’s easy to forget! The greenery in parks combat the urban heat island effect and serve as habitat islands for all types of wildlife. Additionally, many parks are in central locations and become the epicenters for free events like markets, music festivals, community sports, and fundraisers. Plus most parks have those three special words: ice cream truck.
2. Peruse a Flower Market or Garden Shop: Flowers are the cheerleaders of life. Strolling through your local flower shop or garden nursery is a quick fix to counter the cities usual swaths of gray. If you can, consider buying a few to take home because plants are clinically proven to increase indoor air quality (1), boost your mood, and increase productivity (2). #selfcare
3. Visit an Urban Farm: They exists and they are awesome. Urban farms are plots of land that are protected and remain in the midst of mass urbanization. They often have petting zoos, horse riding, and walking trails. Nothing helps you ignore the city more than chilling with some animals and drinking home-made lemonade.
4. Go to a Botanical Garden: Botanical Gardens are a surefire way to get more than a dose of greenery. Typically botanical gardens house an extensive global botany collection that will make you feel like you’v traveled to another country! They also are botanical sanctuaries that preserve rare and endangered plants from vulnerable ecosystems. Thus they are a great place to experience rare species first-hand. Taking a stroll through your local botanical garden is like walking around the world.
5. Leave! : Sometimes the best thing you can do is ditch the city all together. Take a well deserved ‘city-break’ and head out to the countryside. Visit a small town with a diner and motel. Peak into its museums and shops for a weekend. Head down to the coast for an uninterrupted view of the ocean or head up to the mountains for a hike.
6. Find the nearest Greenhouse: Greenhouses are magical places where plants of all shapes and sizes surround you. Not to mention their primarily glass construction makes you feel like you can touch the sky #aesthetic. I think you’ll find yourself transfixed by the sheer beauty of each plant and the variety of species greenhouses hold. If you live near a university, university greenhouses are often free and open to the public during the week.
Recently, I’ve been attempting to experiment with video and film and wow it’s tough man. I made a promotional video for the Vanderbilt Greenhouse below. Vandy friends: the Greenhouse is located on the 7th floor of Stevenson and is open 9am-5pm, Mon-Fri! Check it out!