Pokémon Go Has People Exploring the World in a Whole New Way
Pokémon Go is everywhere.
On my morning commute, I counted 34 people playing with the new app — and those were only the screens visible to me.
Aside from livening up a daily train ride, the app has incredible potential for vacationers. With so many PokeStops and PokeGyms located at city landmarks, the craze is an unique opportunity to get out and explore while also indulging your '90s nostalgia.
A minor league baseball team in North Carolina even invited players to use the field to find new Pokémon, for an entry fee of $5.
Aside from the expected landmarks, there are a few lesser-known places that the app urges players to visit. I've lived in Clinton Hill, a quiet neighborhood in Brooklyn, for years, and was surprised by what I found when checking out the PokeStops within a mile of my apartment. Murals, mid-century architecture, sculptures, stunning stained glass situated around easy-to-miss corners of a church ... the list goes on.
From the Time Inc. headquarters in lower Manhattan, I spotted plenty of Stops to keep any tourist busy for an afternoon: the World Trade Center Memorial Pools, the Survivor Tree, Memorial Fountain Battery, Gateway Plaza, Saint Joseph's Chapel, Rock Wall Fountain, Plant Reproduction Wall Art. There's an itinerary right there, the perfect mix of standard and unexpected destinations.
The catch: Given the game's crazy popularity, you're sure to run into a few particularly unobservant crowds.
And speaking of remaining observant: There's a reason the app begins with a warning about paying attention to your surroundings. More than one player has been robbed after making their way to an out-of-the-way location, as thieves have found ways to make use of the app. With your head in your phone, you're more vulnerable, so please: Be safe when playing Pokémon Go.
Safety considerations aside, the app is an incredible way to interact with destinations, whether familiar or brand new.
You could plan an entire vacation using only Pokémon Go as your travel guide. Who's going to do it first?
Erika Owen is the Senior Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.