Moving to a new city brings a whole range of emotions: Excitement, curiosity, the thrill of the unknown! It can also bring a sense of overwhelm and confusion. Where do you begin when you’re starting in a new place?
If you’ve moved to a city and are not sure where to begin, have no fear. We’ll help you with some steps to take you from “new arrival” to “local” in no time.
Be a Regular Fixture
A great way to settle in is to have your regular spots. Those places where Everybody Knows Your Name are comforting. It’s also a nice way to make new friends.
Scope out your new neighborhood and try out new places. Found a cute cafe that makes a great coffee? Make it a point to visit regularly. A dinner spot nearby with a cozy table and a menu full of dishes you’ll love to try? That could be your Tuesday night out. A bar with friendly bartenders and weekly pub trivia? Pop in for a sip – soda or juice, if you prefer, of course – and chat with others.
Exploring a new city is full of surprise and temptation, and you should definitely find spots around town to keep trying new things. Balance this with some time spent frequenting some regular spots. Get to know the staff, and you’ll feel like a part of the community.
They didn’t prepare us for this part of adulthood. While we were in school, we could just run up to another kid at the park and invite them to play. It was so easy and natural for us. But… why can’t it be like that now?
If it’s out of your comfort zone to talk to strangers, make it a point to allow yourself to be a bit uncomfortable. Compliment the neighbor that you see often to open a conversation. Say hello to that person sitting belly-up to the bar near you. Extend a lunch invitation to that person at yoga class you often make small talk with. As you get friendly with the staff at your locals, check to see what they do for fun. That can be a good “in” for making plans together.
You won’t click with everyone and that’s normal, natural, and totally okay. But you’ll have to cast a wide net in order to see who you connect with in the longer term, and you often have to do that by being proactive. Don’t wait for them to embrace you – go for it!
Try “Yes” On for Size
Once you start meeting people, you’ll likely start getting some invitations. Sometimes this may be to things you’re not quite sure about. What’s the harm in saying yes anyway? Saying yes to the opportunities that come gives you a chance to try new things out, be surrounded by new people, and see what things are like in your new hometown.
This is just as valid for direct invitations as it is for Facebook events and fliers on the cafe bulletin board. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities, and seize them. You never know what – or who – you might find.
Embrace the Unexpected
You may have arrived with an idea in your mind about what life can or should be like. The best thing you can do is let that go. Clear some space of looking for only the perfect thing, the perfect click, the perfect… whatever. You never know what will come when you give it space.
Depending on your schedule, consider a part-time job at that quirky boutique in your neighborhood. Keep an eye out for volunteering opportunities. Help set up for a market happening this weekend. Put yourself out there to try some new things and you may find you unexpectedly enjoy them.
Explore Like a Tourist
Don’t be too stuck on the idea of being a local. You may miss out on some fun aspects of your new city. You had a reason to move to this new place, and it’s only new once. Get out and explore!
Look for a free walking tour to learn about some of the local culture and architecture. Check for a food tour to run a gauntlet of restaurants. Grab your camera and head out to just take some snaps of things you’re seeing there for the first time. Head to some of the touristy spots and see what the fuss is about. Head out with the same curiosity of a short-term tourist seeing everything for the first time. We promise it can be a really fun way to meet your city.
Overall, the best way to really settle and keep your energy high is by remaining open. Stay curious and interested in the place you’re living. Once the routine of life sets in, it’s easy to lose sight of the magic. Do yourself – and your beloved new home – a favor, and keep that fire alive.