Before Rio’s 2016 Summer Olympics, You Can Visit London’s 2012 Olympic Site

In my quiver of travel accomplishments, I’ve visited 12 Olympic cities … just not DURING the Olympics.

It didn’t seem that long ago that London hosted their Olympics. That Danny Boyle-directed opening ceremony was certainly triumphant and exhilarating. I met a couple of people who were part of the unpaid cast of the ceremony, and both said it was worth their time.

I visited Stratford shortly after the games closed in 2012. I walked around and felt like they were still building the area. There was a still a lot of construction going on. There’s a big mall complex and outdoor eateries similar to the Universal City Walk in Los Angeles and Orlando. I did take advantage of the markdowns at the official Olympic souvenir shop at John Lewis.

In the big scheme, these Olympic parks are a huge money drain for cities and it will take a decade to recoup the costs, if they do at all. There need to be something to sustain the area, thus a mall complex is the answer. I wouldn’t characterize it as a must-see in London as a tourist destination, but the locals keep the area active. Before the Olympics, that Stratford area needed a boost of commerce.

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