Is Adventure Possible in the City?

A lot of times when I think about adventure, it’s usually in the context of being outdoors. But after spending just one day in New York City recently, I’m starting to rethink my adventure parameters.

Is it possible to find the same amount of adventure (maybe even more?) in an urban environment as you could find out in the woods?

The short answer to that question is yes, of course. You can find adventure anywhere. And I think it largely depends on how you define adventure.

As for my own abbreviated definition, adventure usually involves some sort of unexpectedness, a certain degree of thrill and uneasiness, and most importantly, fun.

I’ve been to my fair share of big cities, but man, New York seems to have an abundance of just about everything! In one day I ate awesome Indian food and some of the best gelato I’ve ever had. I hit up the landmark deli Katz’s, and was pleasantly amused with the decor, the history, and the plate of pickles they bring out.

I visited an amazing 9/11 memorial, rode the subway at rush hour, walked all over the place, and even got cut off by a nun driving into the Holland Tunnel from Jersey City. All sorts of adventures, and I hardly scratched the surface!

So what about you? Can you find adventure just about everywhere, whether you’re in the woods or in the city? Or are cities just places to live?

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20 comments

    1. Absolutely! Great point, wildramp. Not everyone is inclined to wander all over the globe aimlessly, so when they do something simple like leave their neighborhood, it becomes quite the adventure.

  1. I’ve given this question a lot of thought. I was once certain adventure was best in the wilderness, but I’ve come around to thinking cities are where it’s at. They are full of the unexpected. They force us out of our comfort zones multiple times a day. They are packed with opportunities for spontaneity and creativity. I think those factors are ingredients for a true adventure.

    1. It sounds like we’ve both expanded our adventure horizons! Like you, I thought adventure can only truly be found out in the wild. Not so! Well said NN! What’s the most adventurous city you’ve been too so far?

  2. NYC is a never ending adventure, you got that right. The minute you get into Manhattan your heart starts racing and your adrenaline starts pumping. The people, the rhythm and pace, the food, the sights and sounds,etc. It’s a lot of stimulation. I used to give tours of the city and watching how everyone would respond to it was a treat.
    Great post!!

    1. You nailed NYC’s description! So much going on, at such a frantic pace. It took a minute for me to ease into the city and just accept it for what it is, and once I did, I was diggin’ every minute of it. How cool is it that you used to give tours of the city!? What kind of tour was it?

      1. I worked for my father who would have a lot of business associates from Europe over. I always loved seeing it fresh and new from somebody else’s perspective. Each day is a crazy adventure. I used to like to chill out in a little corner of central park. Ahh… a little more peaceful and quite a bit slower. Another cool thing to do is step off of busy 5th avenue and into Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. It’s such a sharp contrast of noise and then spiritual quiet. It’s a cool sensation.

  3. That’s quite an adventure! I agree that cities could offer as much excitement as places you would only visit for a vacation. I live in Singapore and every weekend there is always an adventure for us—the parks, gardens, zoos, etc. Last Sunday we took the tower at Sentosa to give us a view of the city and the nearby island of Malaysia and Indonesia. That was awesome. 😃

    1. Singapore is another great city I’d love to explore. Sounds like there’s tons of adventure to be had! If I make it, I’ll have to check out the tower at Sentosa. I love a good bird’s-eye view.

  4. Another great post Eric, and I think you know my opinion on this one. Adventure is a state of mind and can happen ANYWHERE! It’s all about how we perceive things.

    1. Yeah, I’m really starting to appreciate what you’re getting at with adventure being a state of mind more and more lately. Life becomes much more interesting once you learn how to control certain elements of your perception. Great insight, Alex. You should teach a class on this topic. 🙂

  5. Yeah, Alex nailed it.
    But lunch at Katz’s? Always an adventure, in the best sense of the word.
    Please tell me you had pastrami and a knish.

    Sorry I didn’t know you were here. Let me know next time you come around.

    1. Our conversation with our Katz’s waiter went something like this:
      “First time here?”
      “Yes.”
      “Here’s what I’d do buddy. I’d go with the pastrami.”
      “Uh, OK, how about lox and bagel, and latkes instead?”
      “Whatever you want buddy. And you’re sayin’ you two wanna split it?! Jeesh, not sure about that, but we’ll see.”
      He leaves, and I then look over to the table next to us, where two glorious pastrami plates await devouring.
      “Crap.”

    1. “Adventure is a state of mind and can happen anywhere” is a frame of mind I’m personally training myself to accept at all times. Is it fairly easy for you?

      1. I would say most of the time, but not always…I think it’s too easy to say that we’re bored and more difficult to work our creativity a little harder… 🙂

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