Moving to a new city is exciting, but it can also be very daunting. It’s likely that your first week or so will be spent unpacking and getting yourself oriented to your new routine, but once you’re reasonably settled, you should focus on familiarizing yourself with your new area. Here are 10 ways you can get to know your new city.
Check the Local Papers
Whether you want to subscribe to the physical newspaper or just follow their accounts on social media, the local papers are a great way to find out what’s going on in the area. You’ll see concert listings, annual events, and information about city council meetings. The opinion section will give you a great idea of people’s views in the area, and probably some local issues like which roads people think need work and which local businesses are popular.
Speaking of local businesses, the best way to familiarize yourself with a city is to visit the local stores! Luckily, you just moved, so you probably need something! Get online and find niche-specific stores so that you can check out multiple stores for your different needs. Check out strip malls and shopping centers so that you can visit multiple stores in one trip.
My roommate in college had moved quite a bit as a child. Every time they moved, her dad would grab a map (yes, a physical map) and drive around until he was lost. Then he’d use the map to find where he was and figure out how to get home. He always paid attention to where he was going and what was around so that later he could find places again. Even though today we have maps built into our smart phones, looking at a physical map will help you get a better grasp on where things are in relation to each other. If you’re really averse to getting lost, check out these recommended scenic drives and see if any are in your area.
Walk and Bike
When we drive, we don’t always notice the landscape around us. Walking the mile radius around your new home will help you get familiar with your immediate surroundings. Biking when you go on errands within a few miles of your home will help you learn the best roads for both bikes and cars. You’ll also get some exercise in the process, which is never a bad thing! Many cities also have walking and biking paths in parks, or greenbelts that run through scenic parts of the city. These are great places to get a feel for the recreational vibes of your new town. If you’re not sure where it’s safe to bike, check out what makes a bike friendly city and some examples of cities doing it right.
Go to the Library
Moving isn’t a cheap process, and with all the shopping you’ll need to do, you’ll need some free entertainment. Stop by the library and sign up for a card. Check out their upcoming events and see if they have fliers and other resources for things going on in the city. Libraries are a hub of information, so you’ll likely learn a lot about your new city if you look in the right places!
Go to the Zoo
Zoos are a great place to find out about the local priorities when it comes to conservation and other environmental efforts. When you visit the local zoo, you not only get to see adorable animals, but you get to learn about the zoo’s history and efforts to bring those animals there. Most zoos also have events and work with local organizations to fundraise, so you’ll likely learn about a few other places to check out. Not every zoo is huge like the San Diego Zoo, but they’re all closely connected to various aspects of the community.
Find the Markets
Farmer’s Markets, craft fairs, and holiday bazaars are great ways to learn about your new community. If there are lots of markets, your community values small businesses, and likely handmade goods. Vendors at markets are often willing to chat with you about the area, and also other businesses where you can find items this vendor doesn’t provide. Many local businesses have booths at these markets, so you might find a few new regular shopping stops!
Giving back to the community is a great way to learn about it. Most soup kitchen and animal shelters are always looking for volunteers, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding a place. In volunteer scenarios, people often chat, meaning this is a great opportunity for you to get to know the people in your area. Once you get involved at one place, you’ll usually learn about other causes and places looking for help, which means you’ll be more informed about the needs and general landscape of your new city.
Join a Networking Group
Volunteering is about helping others, and networking is about helping yourself. There are lots of national organizations that help people make local connections. Try finding a meetup group or look for your neighborhood on Nextdoor. You’ll get to know people in your area and also get a feel for what kind of professional connections are available to you.
Hang out Downtown
Downtowns are the heart of any city, even when they’re one street. Every downtown has at least one bar and/or restaurant. Check out the downtown area of your new town and see what it has to offer!
These are just a few ways you can get to know your new city. Have more ideas? Share in the comments!
About The Author
Jeriann is a crafter and blogger at dairyairhead.com. She recently started selling her creations at her local farmer’s market and is loving the adventure!