This chapter discusses the necessity of knowing when and why Americans started visiting their own cities for fun, and whether whites went to the neighborhoods of other ethnic minorities. It was found that historians were only beginning to study tourism and had as yet paid little attention to American cities. Studying the rise of urban tourism at the turn of the century brings together three important elements in this well-known cultural transformation: urban space, leisure, and commercialization. The popularity of city touring by 1915 marked a significant shift in the way that well-to-do Americans perceived, organized, and moved around in urban built environments. Probably not all cities experienced a growth in urban tourism or sought to promote it at the turn of the century, but the many cities that did contributed to a new and powerful set of ideas about urban space, commercial leisure, and social relations.
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