By Nikki Ekstein
April 25, 2014

Here's how I'll be spending much of this upcoming weekend: enjoying some quality armchair (time) travel courtesy of Google Maps' new Time Machine feature. Launched this week, it captures the evolution of places as they have been documented by Google's street view team—now celebrating their seventh year in action.

Look for a small clock-shaped icon in the top left corner of Street View as you're browsing points of interest—the new World Trade Center perhaps, or, eventually, your childhood home—and you can toggle through a time lapse offering a look back over the years. What's particularly fascinating is the rise of new destinations and hotspots—I watched the High Line be built in a split second. More sobering: the effects of natural disasters (Hurricane Sandy here in New York, or the horrific 2011 earthquake in Japan). Consider this writer officially obsessed.

Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.