Moving to a new neighborhood or city is exciting for a lot of reasons. A new job, a newhome, new friends, new experiences…there’s no better way to jump start your life than to plunge head-first into an entirely different setting.
Of course, not everything about a move is going to be positive. Oftentimes, finding your way around a new city can be intimidating—especially if you’re still struggling to find your feet in your new home. Although getting out and exploring might be the last thing you feel like doing right now, the best thing you can do for yourself is start finding your way around.
> Start Small: If you’ve moved to a big city or a busy neighborhood, you might feel overwhelmed at the thought of finding your way around. Instead of taking it all in at once, start small. Take a walk around the block. Visit a store that’s on the corner. Get to know one new neighbor at a time. By breaking your exploring and socializing into small, manageable chunks, you’re much less likely to take on more than you can handle.
> Be a Tourist: There’s no better way to get to know a city than as a tourist. Don’t be afraid to visit your city’s tourist center and load yourself down with brochures. Visit all the major sites, carry a map, and take lots of pictures. Once you’re familiar with the most common features, you can start exploring lesser-known areas.
> Ride the Metro: Public transportation can be intimidating if you’ve never been on it before, but now is a good time to step outside your comfort zone. Buy a pass for your local train, subway, or other public transport system and step on board. Once you’ve ridden the same route a few times, you’ll feel much more confident feeling your way around.
> Hire an Uber: No one knows a city better than bus drivers, Uber/Lyft drivers, or taxi drivers. The next time you need to go somewhere, sit in the front and chat with your driver. You might be surprised what insights you’ll be able to glean from them.
> Break the City into Neighborhoods: Almost all cities (especially the bigger ones) are broken down into specific areas by neighborhood. Find a list of all the neighborhoods and spend a weekend getting to know each one. Park nearby and take as much of it in on foot as you can—and don’t be afraid to talk to locals!
Ask for Help: If you need to get to know new people as well as new places, consider asking co-workers, neighbors, and family members to spend a day taking you to their favorite local spot. Not only will you get a chance to socialize this way, but everyone will have a different outlook on the city.
There’s no rule that says you have to master your city’s layout within the first few weeks of living in a place. In fact, some people can live in a city their whole lives without experiencing all of it! Take your time and move at a pace that feels comfortable to you. You’ll find new local hangouts sooner than you think!