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OWENS: This summer, be a guest in your own city

Over the last week, I’ve noticed a lot of people walking through downtown poring over their smartphones. At first, I assumed they were taking photos or using a map for directions. It turns out I was half right.

They were playing Pokemon Go, an app that overlays Pokemon into real-life locations, using their current location through Google Maps. Instead of sitting in front of a game system, they have to go to these locations to collect Pokemon. And various locations around town are Pokestops, which provide items that help the players advance in the game.

It is fascinating that this game can turn residents into visitors, as they are encouraged to explore their city while they catch these make believe creatures. Almost every square has a stop, and there are stops in Forsyth Park and all over town. The stops are often interesting historic markers, statues and murals that many of us overlook. So while these players seem engrossed in a virtual world, they are actually discovering historic sites that we often don’t give a second glance.

Even if you are not a Pokemon player, you can join me in getting out and enjoying this beautiful city we call home.

Too often we put the attractions of our city on the “eventually” list. Eventually, I will make it to that museum exhibit, or try that new restaurant that’s getting a lot of buzz. We drive by Colonial Park Cemetery, but never get a chance to walk through to see all the well-known figures who are buried there.

I’ve always been a proponent of being a guest in your own city. Here are some ideas for you to be a guest in your own city.

 

Take a day

Grab the kids on a Saturday, take a Segway tour in the morning and pick out one site from that tour that you will explore more. Maybe you liked the Andrew Low House and you want to see more of it. Go, and take a tour of that house museum.

 

Take a weekend

If you have a Saturday and Sunday to spare, get an on and off trolley ticket so you can travel downtown getting on and off the various stops. Most trolley companies have a free or discounted ticket for locals. And, most trolley tickets are good for the next day if you buy your trolley ticket in the afternoon. While you’re downtown, get the Telfair Museums pass, it’s good for one week. Over the weekend, you can check out all three of their beautiful museums.

 

Take three days

If you have a little more time, make it a stay-cation in your own city. Pick a hotel that fits your vibe and settle in for a vacation. From your hotel, you can explore Savannah like a visitor. Want to take a ferry over to Daufuskie Island? Want to take a tour of Bonaventure? Or, maybe you’d like to just sit by the pool and relax.

However you want to explore this city, the tourism community welcomes you.

So, whether you’re a Pokemon Go player or looking to be a guest in your own city, I would love to see you throughout Savannah.

 

Michael Owens is president/CEO of the Tourism Leadership Council, the largest nonprofit trade organization that supports and represents the tourism community. Contact Owens at michael@tourismleadershipcouncil.com or by calling 912-232-1223.

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In Case You Missed It