Moving to a New City - There's No Place Like Home
The internet has made is easy for newbies to find the best places to go but don't forget about some of the more old-fashioned methods either. Here are some tips on how to make friends, find favorite haunts, and make your new city feel like home.
- Meet the Neighbors. It's so easy to hole up in your new home. You mean to say hello to the immediate neighbors but, by the time the boxes are unpacked, you've already acclimated to the daily work/gym/home routine and time just keeps slipping by. However, if you make a batch of good old fashioned cookies - or gluten-free-dairy-free-sugar-free muffins - and visit a few neighbors, you will be the hero of the block!
- Chamber of Commerce. Almost every city, town and village, has a website for their chamber of commerce. A wealth of information can be found there regarding businesses, things-to-do, hiking trails, historical data, schools, local attractions, etc. Using that as a base can help you take notes on things that interest you for further research later. Better yet, when you have some free time, visit your Chamber of Commerce in person. Most Chambers have racks of brochures and pamphlets on everything pertaining to your new local community. Most of the time, new visitors and residents end up learning more, and visiting more places, than long-time residents ever have.
- Bing! Google! Yelp! Search engines and Yelp.com are testament to our population's interest in sharing their opinion. Due to the relative anonymity - people aren't afraid to tell you how they really feel. You can use key search phrases such as "best coffee shop _____" or "gourmet restaurants ______" (fill in the city name) and you'll have a variety of ratings to read and evaluate to give you an idea of where to start eating, drinking, and shopping.
- Get Lost! One of the best ways to learn about your new city and/or community is to start walking. This is where you learn about the things no tourist bureau or website can write about: the guy who sits on his porch three blocks down and loves to shoot the breeze, or a local ethnic market that has the best produce selection but will never have a website. Taking the time to walk and learn local ins and outs is one of the best ways to make a community yours.