Contributed by Elise G.

I was raised in New York City.  As a child, we went on class trips to the Museum of Art, the Museum of Natural History and even small museums like the Ukrainian Museum.  But as an adult, I never visit these places. Why? I felt that I’d seen it all.

On the other hand, most of my closest friends, who were raised elsewhere and moved here, are enamored by the Big Apple’s culture. They enjoy going to gallery openings, visiting photography shows, seeing live music and watching off-Broadway shows.  However, I always turned down their invitations.  My unwillingness to take in many of these forms of art & entertainment didn’t really make sense to me since I appreciated art (I was an art major!) and enjoyed plays, operas and dance performances. Then last year, I decided that I needed to add some culture to my life. So I began accepting my friends’ invitations and even planning my own cultural activities.

I went to listen to some bands I never heard before, visited the Jewish Museum, saw exhibits at the American Museum of National History, visited the Schomburg Museum, went to the Sakura Matsuri Festival at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden (BBG) and saw a breathtaking dance performance (Rioult) at The Joyce Theater.  Truthfully, I didn’t like many of the bands we saw but I did enjoy going out with my friends; I had to fight back tears when I visited the Jewish Museum but I learned a lot; the Museum of National History was even more exciting than I remembered as a kid; seeing the cherry blossoms in bloom at BBG was spectacular; the Rioult dancers were innovative and simply amazing—I had no idea the body could be contorted in such ways.

While some of my culture experiments have been more okay then eye-popping, I am glad I am exploring the city I was born in.  I had taken it for granted for years and now I am truly appreciating it.

When was the last time you explored your city?  We invite you to share your experiences in the comment box below.