“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see,” said author Henry David Thoreau, who taught the world through his prose how to absorb one’s surroundings, so discover some new surroundings on your daily walk.

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Although there is nothing wrong with the thrill of sightseeing by helicopter, horse-drawn carriage, kayak or rickshaw, the old-fashioned walking tour can afford an opportunity to truly absorb a sense of place and history. “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see,” said author Henry David Thoreau, who taught the world through his prose how to absorb one’s surroundings.

Travel + Leisure magazine asserts: “The best walking tours go exactly at your own pace, one foot in front of the other, to the precise places you want to go. Pause and check out a new plant. Peer closer at the fine print on a weathered poster. Stop in at small businesses. Peruse. Sample. Slow down. Tune in. It’s not too complicated, so long as you bring a comfortable pair of shoes.”

Besides supportive shoes, verywellfit.com lists these walking tour bring-alongs:  

— A “Houdini”-type windbreaker that folds up to the size of a hand or smaller — this works if air conditioning is blasting in a building or if the weather turns windy, rainy or cool.  
— Water bottle
— Energy snack
— Sunglasses
— Lip balm
— A hat, in case the sun is intense
— A quality camera or a smartphone 
— Wallet and ID
— Small backpack or shoulder pack

Plus, consider taking along a small, lightweight notebook for jotting down inspiration, information to look up later, reflections or facts. Some book and stationary stores carry notebooks specifically for travel.

A few top walking tour ideas are:


— New York City film tours to view iconic sites of television shows and movie sets
— Boston’s Freedom Trail to learn about America’s beginnings
— Historic pre-Revolutionary and Civil War churches and homes in Charleston, S.C.
— San Francisco culture
— London pub walks

Some walking tours require guides, while others are app-, marker- or map-guided. Practically every small town to large city globally offers history- or theme-based experiences, from art to music to food.