A little online research and a lot of in-real-life effort will make the new move easier and help you put down roots that last a lifetime.
5 Ways to Make Your New Neighborhood Feel Like Home
Moving to a new neighborhood is often equal parts exciting and anxiety-inducing. There are new things to see, people to meet and places to explore. But landing in a place you’ve never lived can also be a bit lonely, and require some serious legwork when it comes to finding the services you want — and the community you need.
Technology can make the transition easier, but meeting the neighbors in real life and exploring your new town is key to feeling more at home. Here are five tried-and-true tips for getting to know (and love) your new community:
Find your new go-to spots
Everyone has their favorite lunch spot, local coffee shop where the barista knows their order and low-key date spot. The fun part of moving to a new place is getting to find these favorites all over again. But how?
On your phone: Use Google Maps or Yelp to discover the most popular places in your neighborhood. You can also search local publications (such as the weekly alt newspaper) for reviews and tap into your social media network for recommendations on the best restaurants, gyms, running paths, coffee shops and grocery stores.
In real life: Put on your walking or running shoes and explore your new neighborhood. Go out at different times of day, see what places are lively and chat up the people there. For example, you might ask your bartender about their favorite place to get coffee, or your barista about popular places to grab a cocktail.
Meet the neighbors
An oft-cited study by the Pew Research Center notes that fewer than half of Americans know most of their neighbors. Yet, meeting the people that live near you can help you feel more secure — and provide you with a network of support and community, whether it’s having someone who can watch your dog or help shovel snow.
On your phone: The social network NextDoor can give you insight into the people and events in your neighborhood. You can also find meetups in your area where you can socialize and connect with people who share your interests.
In real life: Consider hanging out in your front yard, where you’re more apt to meet people walking by. If you have young kids, hang with them on the porch or on the lawn. No kids? Simply bring out some chairs and host a happy hour. If you want to be even more proactive, bring cookies or another yummy snack to the neighbors you want to meet. No one will turn down free treats — no one.
Source the best services
When you move to a new neighborhood, you need to find new doctors, dentists, hairstylists, dry cleaners and a host of other service providers.
On your phone: Of course, recommendations from friends via social media can help here. But you can also check reviews on sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List and Porch for more specific recommendations of the best local services. Lastly, visit Groupon for special deals; it’s a good way to discover local businesses without breaking the bank.
In real life: Asking for recommendations is actually a great way to initiate conversation with new coworkers. See someone’s haircut you admire? Ask them where they got it cut. Chatting with a new team member? See if they can recommend a dry cleaner or a really great dentist.
Connect with your schools
If you have young kids, then their new schools can offer a built-in community of families and similar-aged children. Sure, starting a new school can be a bit intimidating, for kids and parents alike. But there are a few ways you can get connected even before you walk through the doors.
On your phone: Check to see if your school or its parent-teacher association (PTA) has a Facebook page and ask to join. You’ll get a sense of what’s happening — and access to a network of people happy to answer your questions.
In real life: In most schools, parents convene at drop-off and pick-up in one place. Sometimes it’s in front of the school or in the playground. Make an effort to go just a couple minutes early and meet some of the parents. You can also head to the school bus stop to meet other families in your neighborhood.
Be a tourist in your own town
Tired from all that packing and unpacking? Take a break and spend a few hours being a tourist in your new city. There’s no better way to get know your new home than by exploring its famous sights, visiting its landmarks and eating its signature foods.
On your phone: To get started, check out sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp and AirBnB for lists and reviews of the best things to do in your town.
In real life: You can skip the long lines and crowded spots by touring during off-peak hours. Visit attractions in the middle of the week or an evening after work. Take your time, and enjoy learning more about your new home.
Moving to a new place is a chance to build up a new community and try new things. A little online research and a lot of in-real-life effort will make the transition easier, and help you put down roots that last a lifetime.