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How to Learn About Your New City or Neighbourhood

How to Learn About Your New City or Neighbourhood

It takes a while to acclimatize to new surroundings. Human beings are intrinsically linked to land, so we get comfy in our routines and home bases – it’s one of the underlying reasons we largely abandoned nomadic lifestyles eons ago. So when it comes time to embrace a new home base, it can take some getting used to.

There are a few things that seem to always toss a wrench in the gears of getting to know a new city or neighbourhood – like street names, basic directions to and from points of interest, navigating specific neighbourhoods, finding your new preferred coffee shop, hooking onto the local sports team bandwagon, etc.

While getting lost and finding yourself in a new situation and a new locale every other day can be fun for a while, there comes a time when knowing your way around and learning a few do’s and dont’s about your new community may come in handy. When you move to a new neighbourhood, city, province, or country – getting used to the lay of the land is a crucial aspect of becoming comfortable calling yourself a local. What’s the best way to do it? We have some tips:


Consult the Internet

The glorious world wide web is a shining beacon of hope for newly relocated folks looking for a few good eats, a cold drink, or an evening on the town. Do what you do best and break out your smartphone to kickstart your new home routine.

Consult apps and sites like Tripadvisor for maps and directions to attractions in your new city. Use Foursquare to find the best places to eat, drink and shop in just about any city on earth, and try Yelp to help you find the best of locally rated home services, auto shops, professional services and healthcare facilities. All of these helpful apps rank user experiences to list great locations you can visit to begin developing your own sense of identity in your new community.


Devote a Day to Public Transit

Getting lost a few times is fun, but knowing where you are comes in handy when you’re late for an appointment, your new job, or simply missed your stop on the train. When you first move to a new city, take a day to explore via public transit so you can see and experience varying neighbourhoods, get a sense of landmarks, and spread your wings a little. Further, doing this really helps newcomers to breathe a sigh of relief, and takes the fear out of a new location. Make a waypoint on your phone before you leave so you can find your way home, and just take off for the day. Take the subway, the streetcar, the bus, grab an Uber, and begin making your new city your home.


Lay of the Land

Restaurants, bars and sporting arenas aside, there are a few things you’ll need to begin settling in and making a routine for yourself. Break down your new neighbourhood and find yourself a good grocery store that’s close by, a pharmacy, post office, laundromat, those types of things. Take a walk and visit all of these places so you can begin to realize the lay of the land when you move in.

Again, use the internet. Use Google Maps to help find the closest department stores, coffee shop, or movie theatre. A great trick is to pull up the google Maps app, and search “*.” This is a wildcard search that will show you just about every establishment nearby and can come in very handy when you’re new in town.


Making New Friends

The big one. Making new friends and putting yourself out there is often the toughest transition of moving to a new community. To help make it easier, take a good look in the mirror and remind yourself of who you are, and how you thought of yourself back where you moved from. Embrace those same qualities and take up your hobbies, any sports you love, that type of thing. Remember, it’s not going to happen if you stay at home all weekend. The key is getting out here!

Submersing yourself in the things you love will inevitably yield a bunch of like-minded people whom you can likely strike up a conversation with based on mutual interests. Join a hockey or baseball league if you’re into sports, drop into the local gaming shop if you’re into gaming, pay a visit to the local craft brewery if you’re into homebrewing, catch a local open mic if you’re a budding musician to help meet other musicians in the area. Alternatively, is a fantastic resource that helps people find like minded groups.

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