“Weird walks” have recently been trending on TikTok—and they’re just as straightforward as they sound. Basically, the game is this: Go out for a walk, and don’t head home until you’ve found something weird. That could be a bench with a funny inscription, some interesting graffiti you’ve never noticed before, or a funny animal interaction, like spotting a fox or racoon carrying a slice of pizza or two geese who seem to be engaging (loudly) in the neighborhood gossip.
Want to give it a try? Here are a few ways to stumble upon weirder stuff on your next morning walk—and a few things to look out for.
Leave the house before sunrise. You’re more likely to see nocturnal animals in the hours around dawn when fewer people are out and about. If you live in an urban area, getting up early can give you the chance to watch your city slowly come to life. You might spot bakers heading into cafes to start making the day’s treats or restaurant workers clearing up after a long night. Consider taking some time to sit on a bench and just observe the city around you as the morning commute ebbs and flows.
Walk somewhere you only ever drive. Think about a place you normally only ever drive or take public transit to. Now, do that route on foot (if it’s safe for pedestrians to do so). You might notice interesting architecture you’ve previously sped past, signs that make you laugh, or tiny pockets where nature has reclaimed the city, like where a tree trunk has grown right around a fence so that the fence seems to run right through it.
Read plaques and inscriptions, and don’t forget to look down. Take time to read signs and plaques you wouldn’t notice while driving. In many parts of the U.S., for example, sidewalks have plaques embedded in the pavement that tell you when it was built and by whom. Many older sidewalks were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, which was formed to create jobs during widespread unemployment. The CCC was also responsible for building a lot of the trails and recreation infrastructure we still use in National Parks today.
Plan to take wrong turns. Instead of staring at your navigation app, head out without a specific destination in mind and just see where you end up. Turn down colorful alleyways where you might spot new, interesting murals, and walk further than you usually do.
Here are some things to look (and listen) for – how many can you check off?
- Type of bird you’ve never seen before
- Type of plant you’ve never seen before
- An animal doing something weird/interesting
- Bench with a funny inscription
- Tree growing around or through a fence
- Sidewalk inscription you’ve never noticed before
- Interesting graffiti
- Mural you’ve never noticed before
- Historical plaque
- Pick up some litter
- Car in an odd color
- License plate from a state more than 100 miles away
- Truly clever bumper sticker
- Shop you’ve never been to before
- Funny street name
- Wildflowers where you didn’t expect them
- Alleyway you’ve never noticed before
- Unsent love letter someone dropped on the ground
- Buried treasure
- Small dog being unreasonably territorial
- Neighborhood cat(s) taunting neighborhood dog(s)
- Dog named Cornelius (or similarly regal-sounding)
- Someone walking a cat
- Someone walking a pet that isn’t a dog or cat
- Someone pushing a pet in a stroller
- Functioning pay phone
- Overhear a funny conversation out of context
- A car more than 50 years old
- Someone riding a unicycle
- Someone using a pogo stick as transportation
- Wildlife where it doesn’t belong (i.e. a bear in Manhattan)
- Escaped zoo animal (keep your distance)
How do you keep your morning walks interesting? Let us know in the comments.