Urban vacations are exciting, in part because you’re always on the go. Museums in the morning, skyscraper-hopping in the afternoon, flitting from landmark to landmark all the while. Urban “staycations,” however, let you visit New York City without pounding the pavement and the Windy City without actual wind. Use this guide of at-home activities to put you in city-slicker mode, no matter where your home base is. Who knows — you might be able to leave your heart in San Francisco, which means that eventually you’ll have to go back in person to pick it up.
Soak in Some Culture at Home
Take a virtual tour: Enjoy the breathtaking sights and sounds of world-famous zoos and museums from home. All-day animal cams like ones from the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., get you up close and personal with exotic animals such as giant panda, seen only in select U.S. destinations like D.C., Atlanta and San Diego. Meanwhile, online museum exhibits bring renowned art to your living room. Take your pick of world-class museums like New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Los Angeles’ J. Paul Getty Museum with Google’s collection of online tours. If you want to virtually check out an area’s landmarks, streets and parks, a quick search yields treasures like a 360-degree tour of Austin’s Zilker Botanical Garden in the Texas capital and a journey through Central Park in New York City.
Get a taste of your favorite city: Turn your kitchen into a buzzing cultural center with city-themed family cooking nights. Whip up some St. Louis-style barbecue ribs, chow down on New Orleans po’boys and settle the debate between New York and Chicago pizza styles with a thin-crust versus deep-dish showdown. Need help with preparation? Take advantage of this collection of city-themed recipes.
Play fashionista: Tap into sophisticated urban style by creating a fashion show at home. Each member of the family can play a role: Parents can become the “fashion designers” and put together colorful costumes using clothes around the house (the wilder the better!). Pick a few distinct themes — sports, holidays, time periods — and go from there. Teens can craft the show’s script, which can include a written introduction and the order in which the outfits will be revealed. Then, the young ones can show off their cool new outfits as they stroll down a makeshift runway — like the longest hallway in your house — with music from a favorite playlist accompanying them.