How to Make the Most of City Life

Jon Fesmire |

If you’ve lived in a small town most of your life, you’re bound to experience a bit of shock when moving to a city. This could mean culture shock, but it can also mean size shock. You’ll discover that there’s just so much to do! You may be used to seeing the same people all the time, but in a city, you’ll discover new people every day, many of whom you may never see again.

We want to encourage you to take advantage of the amazing things a city can offer while also making new friends and contacts. If you’re moving to an urban area here’s how to make the most of city life:

Preparation

Before you move to your new city, do some research about it. Browse the internet and write down the places you’d most like to visit in your new city.

Does the city have certain food specialties, such as cheesesteaks in Philadelphia or deep dish pizza in Chicago? Look up the restaurants that serve them.

Also, look up libraries. Although the internet is a fantastic resource for information, libraries can save you money on books, including ebooks, and may have other helpful resources. If you have kids, learn about the local school district. If not, or if you may be interested in furthering your education, look up the local colleges and universities, as well as other adult education programs.

After You’ve Found a Home

Once you know your future address, you can get more specific. Bring up your address in Google Maps. Zoom in a bit, and move around the map by right clicking and holding with your mouse, and dragging around the map. This way, you can easily see what shops, schools, parks, restaurants, churches, and so on are nearby.

This part is fun. Drag the yellow person figure in the bottom right of the screen onto a street to get a street view. You can then, with the arrow keys or your mouse, move along the street and see what the area looks like. This can give you a pretty good feel for the area, and when you move in, you’ll recognize the places you visited virtually.

Make sure you have a sense of where important government buildings that you may need to visit are, too. Look up city hall, the DMV, the police department, and so on.

Day to Day Living

After you’ve moved in, you should quickly settle into your new life, which will include the usual things: work, school, hanging out at home, and so on.

To make the most of city life, make sure the “so on” includes getting out and doing fun things.

For the first few months, you’ll be somewhere between a tourist and a local. You live there, but you haven’t truly integrated yet. Since you’ll start off closer to the tourist side, if there’s a guidebook about your new city, get a copy! You’ll have more time to explore than a true tourist, more time to really take advantage of the suggestions in the book. Go to the places you wrote down when you first started researching your new city, and let the guidebook help.

You’re bound to meet people at work or school, but it can be tough finding people with your specific interests. To fastrack that, check out Meetup.com. You can visit the website, or even download the app. Search for your specific interest, or browse broad categories like “Outdoors & Adventure,” “Tech,” “Book Clubs,” “Arts,” and more. Find a meetup that appeals to you and go meet people who share your interests. Chances are you’ll quickly make new friends and helpful contacts.

You will also want to budget your money carefully. If you’re moving from a small town, there’s a good chance you’ll earn more in a city, but your rent and other expenses can be higher as well. Make sure you have enough to do the fun things that interest you, even if that means spreading out the fun. Instead of going to two pay museums and a movie in one day, pick one of those things, and go with a new friend. Remember to do the things that are free or cheap as well, like visiting the library or parks.

Yes, every city is going to be different. That’s why these tips are meant to help you learn about your new city, and to make the most of it. Have fun!