You are moving to a new city and your belongings are on the truck. How do you get to know your new community? Whether you moved a few houses down the street or across state lines, settling into a new location can be a fun adventure…so long as you’re ready to put in the work it takes to get acquainted with the new city you now call home. Moving to a new city can feel like you stepped off a ledge into the unknown or it can be a great and positive adventure.
Having trouble taking that first step? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Get the Family Involved. Moving to a new city and settling in may feel overwhelming, so share the responsibility – and excitment – by getting the whole family involved. Task one person with finding good places to eat, another with compiling a list of places to visit—and so on—and before you know it, you’ll have plenty to keep you busy. With Google even your seven year old can contribute to the list!
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone. Sitting on the couch binge-watching your favorite show with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s may be all you feel like doing, but you can’t fully immerse yourself into your new community until you commit to getting off the couch—and out the door.
Don’t Neglect Your Interests. Are you an avid biker? Love to swim? Don’t neglect your interests as
you continue settling into your new locale. Taking the time to scope out a local bike shop or the neighborhood pool will go a long way toward keeping your heart content.
Meetup.com is a great way to find groups based on similar interests in your area—just type in where you are and what you’re looking for and you’ll probably find multiple groups getting together during the week. And, if you don’t find one (or don’t find one that suits you), start your own! Rarely are you the only one with your interests in a given town, and if you can’t find anyone, make them come to you.
Do Some Research. You have spent the days and months packing and discarding and sorting prior to moving to a new city. Now now that you’re in your new space, dedicate some time to surfing the Web. In addition to doing a Google search of your new location, peruse the town/city’s website as well. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can also serve as handy resources.
The first thing that probably popped into your head is to check out places like Google Maps, Yelp, or Citysearch to find some of the best places to eat, hang, see movies, and so on. There’s a reason for that: it works pretty well. If you want to grab a cup of coffee or some lunch, hit up one of those sites and look at reviews of nearby spots. Of course, there’s no substitution for trying something out, so don’t be afraid to hop around, either. If you find a movie theater that has the highest rating on Google Maps, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best one or the best one for you—so plan to “shop around” a bit before settling into a routine too quickly. That said, the internet should give you a good start.
An especially neat trick, if you’re looking for stuff that’s near you, is to just bring up Google Maps, center it on your place, then search for
*. The wildcard search works on Maps and will pretty much show you everything that’s nearby, which is pretty handy when you’re just trying to get a sense of what’s close.
Talk to the Neighbors. Next time you see a neighbor out walking their dog, take a second to introduce yourself. While you might not become fast friends, if they’ve lived in the area long enough, they’ll be a good source of information as to what’s happening in and around the area. They may have some great advice on how to settle in after moving to a new city.
Maximize Connections. Thanks to social media, we’re more connected than ever before, making it easy to connect with individuals who may currently live in the same town you just moved to, or have lived there previously. Take advantage of these connections and ask questions to get a better understanding for what it’s like to live and play in the area.
Create a Google Doc (or Google Map!) and ask anyone you know locally to add to it. If you can get one person to participate, you can probably get others to add their favorite places to eat and things to do in town. It can become self-sustaining pretty quickly. Just invite your new friends as collaborators and it will snowball.
Wander. Next time you head out for a drive, turn off the GPS and see what you find. From parks you never knew existed to hole-in-the-wall restaurants, you’ll be surprised at what you find once you take a moment to wander.
Use Flickr to find places to visit. Lots of people use Flickr to find photogenic food in restaurants, but
the photo-sharing site’s nearby photo finder helps you discover sights and locations you never knew about, right around the corner from where you are. You can simply search Flickr for your location (“Bethesda”), find a neat-looking photo and add
/nearby to the photo’s URL, or you can hit the “Map” link on any photo that has its location tagged.
Find the inexpensive things nearby. The new classic GasBuddy and MSN Auto’s overnight gas price finder are both great for finding gas for less but there are other money saving apps to check out and help you find your way in a new community. For cheap food and drinks, give Cheap-Ass Food a look, and give MappyHour a peek for drink specials. If you’re looking for a way to spend some time without having to eat, drink, or drop much cash, DiscountYeti finds free museum days and other local discounts and maps them out for you. (Original posts: cheap eats, gas prices).
Keep an Open Mind. Fitting in to a new place is all about being open to new opportunities that arise. Make the most of your new living situation by getting out there and embracing everything the area has to offer.
For more tips on settling in to the DC metro area contact me today! And if you haven’t found your dream house yet, call the Lise Howe Group at 240-401-5577 to start your home search or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.