If you are familiar with the term “urban exploration,” you know in most cases it’s illegal.  People who are urban explorers discover normally unseen or off-limits parts of urban areas like abandoned buildings or other unique places.  While interesting as it may be, this activity could be dangerous and some activities associated with urban exploration could be considered trespassing or violations of local or regional laws which include (but not limited to), invasion of privacy and certain broadly interpreted anti-terrorism laws.

While I find urban exploration fascinating, I’m not an advocate for breaking the law.  So I’ve developed my own  interpretation of urban exploration.  It’s completely legal and a great way to support your local community and economy.

Urban exploration, to me, is going out and exploring your urban surrounding.  If you are looking for something to do, this a great activity for a Saturday or Sunday.  Take a day and hop on public transportation.  Walk through different neighborhoods and get a sense of their community and culture.  Go to an area that you’ve never been to and check out a cafe, museum or boutique.  Pretend you are a tourist and check out the sights.  The idea is simple, but a great way to learn about the unique aspects of the local community.

Before you go out and do any kind of urban exploring, please do some research. While spontaneity is always fun, it’s best not to go into it blindly.  To make sure your day of exploring is fun, always keep in mind your safety. Don’t go to a neighborhood or part of town where your safety might be a concern.   

With that being said, here are some resources to help you with your research.

Yelp:  People just like you review local businesses and happenings around town.  Check it out and see what people have to say.  It can help map out your day of urban exploration.

Foursquare: Follow people who posts where they go.  This can help give you ideas of places you want to explore.  Once you find a new and unique place, check-in.  Share your location with others.

Brightkite:  A simple way to meet new people, keep up with friends and places and enjoy your neighborhoods. 

All three websites can connect to your Facebook and Twitter as well.  So take advantage of these online resources.  And don’t forget to share your adventures 🙂