In a period like the one we are living just now is hard to come up with things to do especially when travelling is off the list. A great way to rediscover the city you are living in or some nearby spots is to jump on some wheels and explore! This is something that I started doing in Scotland during the different stages of the pandemic. When possible I had to adapt and switch to 4 wheels for safety purpose and reduced public transport timetables.
Here I’m going to share cool spots our spotters have identified in their cities, some inspiration for activities to do by car as well as events which in some cases are better and safer if attended by car.
Listen to a Local Radio Station
Oh and let’s not forget that travel restriction may result in quieter roads, which translates into reduced traffic and no traffic in some cases. If you live somewhere like our local Liz when it’s usually busy with cars you may enjoy her tip on what to do or listen to when stuck in traffic.
In cities like Los Angeles, most tourists need to hire a car for efficiency. Here the traffic is usually bad but according to our local Liz if you plan ahead and expect to deal with traffic is more tolerable. In busy cities like Los Angeles, it quickly becomes a habit to think, plan the day and catch up on the phone during traffic while you’re going as slow as 5mph. Her top tip is to listen to the radio station 93.5 KDAY.
If you are lucky enough to live somewhere a bit quieter and have free roads, we recommend to just jump on your car, turn your Spotify off and listen to the local radio whether is only for grocery shopping or for a longer journey. It’s a great substitute for anyone who loves walking and letting their mind go but maybe it’s too cold or too rainy to do so. We also recommend to keep up to date with your government guidelines to make sure you’re not going to break any rules.
Spots That are Better Enjoyed by Car
Some places, according to our locals are better enjoyed by car. Whether this is hard to reach location or a well-hidden gem, some spots require the use of some wheels unless you are prepared to walk. In some cases using a car will save you some time if you are on a tight schedule or you prefer to opt-out the use of public transport.
In Rome for example, if you have a car or a scooter and are looking for a new spot to visit, check out Via Piccolomini. Here as you advance fast the dome of St Peter’s creates an optical illusion: seems like a rising moon and the closer you get the further away it seems. Our local Alexandra recommends renting a scooter or car as this is best enjoyed when moving fast rather than walking!
Watching a movie from the comfort of your home in your jammies is great, but not so great when you know that going to the cinema is off the list due to the pandemic. Our Madrid spot will give you the motivation to get up from the couch (don’t worry we won’t judge you if you keep your jammies on) and watch a movie with style.
Autocine is the largest drive-in cinema in Europe. They have plenty of food trucks and diner to make you feel like John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John at the drive-in cinema. Here you can also rent a Cadillac to watch a movie. If you don’t live locally, there are plenty of other options and events organised in cities all over the world such as themed nights movies (Christmas movies, Halloween movies etc.) as well as after movies activities to attend from the safety of your own cars such as karaoke and quiz.
Another fun thing to do if the restrictions in place in your area are strict and won’t allow you to travel by car is to turn your own car into a cinema. So instead of watching a movie in your living room or in bed pop in the car for some more fun! Almost the same concept as building a den indoors.
Another great activity to do is to go Stargazing and observe the stars. You may be thinking that due to light pollution will be hard to see any stars if you live in a city. Well by following some tips and checking the phase of the moon, if you go before the full moon you’ll be in for a treat!
You can easily do this by the comfort of your city without going too far if strict travel restrictions are in place. By driving a little further than the city light you’ll be able to see some stars, make sure to bring a stargazing book or download an app to help you recognize the stars you’ll be looking at.
In 2016 a design based company shared a drive-thru concept supermarket that operates in a similar way some gas stations with integrated grocery stores are now operating. I started to notice these in my local area and they are great, they are allowing people to shop from their car to allow for social distance and it’s the same concept as the Floating Market in Thailand where you can shop from your boat!
In 2018, before the pandemic, a big chain based in Atlanta launched a drive-thru meal kit to allow their customers in Atlanta to shop for chicken-based meal kit with fresh ingredients they could make at home. This is different from the usual grocery shopping as it is fast-food based but works in a similar manner many hospitality businesses are now operating.
We encourage you to look out for this kind of initiatives in your city and skip the line at the busy supermarket when you only need some vegetables and milk. Many supermarkets, independent and non are taking part in online orders which also allow you to collect your order from your car and save in delivery fees.
At these times when we have plenty of time to read more books, some libraries are closed during the pandemic and this makes it harder for people like me who prefer real books to e-books. Schaumburg, a village in Illinois started a creative initiative: they solved this problem by adapting and making a drive-thru library. Here you can pre-order your books online and go pick them up safely from your car.
Check out what your local libraries are up to and who knows maybe you’ll be able to borrow and read a new book from the comfort of your car. We also recommend exchange books initiatives, these are great to go to by car if you have loads of books and don’t want carry loads of weight to your nearest swap book library!
There are also plenty of events planned such as drive-in comedy nights, drive-in musicals, drive-in concerts and exhibitions too! In London for example, you can attend the West End Musical Drive-in from your car.
Toronto has also launched Van Gogh by car. A drive-in exhibition with lights and sounds to enjoy a 35 minutes art show from the comfort and safety of your car. This is just an example of a drive-in museum experience, there are many more happening in cities around the world and we encourage you to look them up!
As mentioned these are just some of the many cool things you can do by car, travel restriction permitting. We hope these locals spots and tips will encourage you to find new things to do, discover new local spots and take part in local events.