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What is it about being a tourist that makes you want to do crappy tourist things? I lived in Philadelphia for a year and a half and never went to see the Liberty Bell, or take a horse drawn carriage ride around the Old Town. I live (near) San Francisco and I've never been to the MOMA, taken a cable car ride (in 12 years), or hung out on the Golden Gate Bridge. 1. Being a tourist makes you want to do things that are "unique" to the area even if you don't derive much pleasure from them. 2. Without knowledge of the area, a tourist's activities are limited to touristy things. Most locals don't want tourists blending in so they are deliberately unfriendly. This is being mitigated somewhat by websites like Couchsurfing 3. When you live somewhere the opportunity cost of visiting the Fisherman's Wharf this weekend is lower. 4. It's easy to do what the pamphlets in the lobby and your Rough Guide tell you to do. I'm not too convinced by these reasons. When I'm somewhere new I inevitably spend most of my time walking from place to place, checking out the parks and main drag, or hiking to the top of a big hill nearby. After midnight is an especially good time for sightseeing.