New restaurants around every corner. Bars that stay open until sunrise. The possibility of a new career, a new significant other, friends that you haven’t met yet.
There’s a lot to love about living in a city, but beneath the shimmering skyline, reality can be less picturesque. Despite the electric energy, cities can exhaust your finances and your emotions. Moving to a city typically means higher rent, less space and more crime. But does ditching the bright urban lights for the starry skies of the suburbs mean that you’ll become some desperately uncool Stepford wife (or husband)?
If you’re considering moving from the city to the suburbs, here are 10 things you can expect.
If you’re used to walking from your downtown apartment to your midtown office, prepare to switch out your walking shoes for some driving gloves (don’t actually buy driving gloves). Your commute from the suburbs will be longer—or at least different. If you’re a public transportation devotee, moving to the suburbs may require you to commute by car instead. You’ll have to factor in rush hour traffic, parking, and all of the other joys that come with driving to work.
City dwellers are aware of hot new restaurant openings, while suburbanites are aware of...well...hot wings at Applebee’s. If you’re a foodie, the dining options in the suburbs might bum you out. Despair not; your new favorite Italian restaurant doesn’t have to be Olive Garden. Cute coffee shops and trendy fusion eateries do exist in the suburbs; they’re just tucked away in strip malls and seldom written about in the New York Times.
On a warm summer night, the open bedroom window of your city apartment allows you to be lulled to sleep by the sound of honking horns and drunk people shouting. In the suburbs, you fall asleep to literal crickets or nothing at all. Don’t be embarrassed if you need to adjust; you can always leave an episode of Cops on your TV if you miss the sound of sirens.
If you’re used to paying $2,000 a month for a one-bedroom apartment that you share with two other people, the sheer amount of space in the suburbs is going to blow your mind. Suddenly, you’re living in an actual house instead of a studio above a deli. You’ve got a backyard. You’ve got a front yard too! If you’re like many millenials who want a home with a yard for the sake of their dogs, you and your four-legged friend are going to love the suburbs.
“Sure,” you tell yourself, “I may be moving to the suburbs, but I’m still going to get into the city all the time.” Cut to a year later and you realize that you haven’t been downtown since the day you went to get your security deposit back from the place you moved out of.
Goodbye, 2 a.m. hot dogs. In the suburbs, you’ll want to make your dinner reservations before 9 p.m. and you might want to order that last round of drinks before midnight. Plan on running your errands during daylight hours and you’ll be fine.
In the city, Friday night calls for $20 cocktails at some trendy rooftop bar. In the suburbs, your social life is a bit more wholesome. Instead of making friends at your neighborhood watering hole, you’ll meet people at community events like yard sales, book clubs and fundraisers.
Walking home at night in the city can feel like an obstacle course—and not in a fun way. Is someone following you? How close did that homicide on the news happen to your apartment? In the suburbs, your late night run around the block can be peaceful and worry-free. Crime isn’t non-existent in the suburbs, but neighborhood watches and a more family-oriented environment often minimize your chances of becoming a victim.
There’s a trade-off for that feeling of safety. You might find yourself feeling a little bored. If everything closes at 9 p.m.—and all of your neighbors go to bed around that time too—you might long for the excitement of the city.
There’s a reason it’s called A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and not A Forest Grows in Brooklyn. Nature in a city is usually relegated to urban parks and the occasional sidewalk shrub. In the suburbs, you’ll trade concrete for grass. You might even end up in a home that backs up against the woods, the mountains or a lake. The sounds of birds chirping and the sight of green leaves outside your window can be a very soothing thing. And hey, if you ever miss the city lights, you can still visit—or at least tell yourself you’ll visit.