Moving to a new city can be a nerve-wracking experience. Whether you’re transferring jobs, starting school, or simply wanting a change of pace from your old city, it’s easy to feel a little out of place in a new area. After the bags and boxes have been unpacked and the pictures have all been hung up in your new place, you’ll need to venture out and start getting to know the city. Here are the best ways to make it feel like home in no time:
Hit the “Best Of” in Town
Every town has its own special bragging rights. For Austin, it’s music and breakfast tacos. For Los Angeles, it’s entertainment and beaches. What is it about your new city that makes it unique? It’s likely that someone has reviewed or written about its best restaurants and must-see attractions. Over the course of a few weeks, try to hit up as many of the local hot spots as you can to get a better feel of the city. In addition to visiting the city’s most popular sites, try walking downtown or in a busy shopping area and just taking in all the sights and sounds. If one thing’s for sure, it’s that you won’t get to know or fall in love with a new place by experiencing it from the couch.
Join a Club, Organization, or Sports Team
The best way to get to know a city is to meet the people within it. There are hundreds of groups, clubs, and adult sports teams out there, and some of them are bound to be filled with people who are interested in the same things as you. Go to MeetUp.com to search for organizations (which range from book clubs to hiking and activism groups) that you may want to join. You can also see if a local museum or other cultural center offers any social activities for its members. Once you meet a few people, your new place will start to feel more like home.
Put Yourself Out There and Make New Friends
One of the biggest struggles of moving to a new city is losing your sense of belonging. The best way to combat that is to put yourself out there and make some new friends. Although it’s easier said than done, think about asking a co-worker to get lunch sometime, or see if one of your classmates wants to grab a coffee after the lecture. The more you make plans and put effort into getting to know people, the better you’ll feel about your new home. However, it’s important to remember that a friend group doesn’t just magically form overnight. It takes time, and sometimes it can be a frustrating process. Nevertheless, it’s a process worth going through.
Decorate Your Home
Another great way to make your new city feel like home is to go all out with your decor. Too often, apartment dwellers think of their spaces as temporary and don’t see the point in putting a lot of money or effort into them. However, if you make your apartment a cozy and well-styled place, you’ll want to spend more time there and it’ll probably make you less wistful about your old place. Surround yourself with the decorative items you already own and add in some new ones. Spend a day shopping at a local antique store or grab something new from a downtown boutique to fill your home with items from your new city.
Besides making your space look and feel great, decorating your new apartment will make it more inviting to others. When you’re confident in your space, you might even feel encouraged to ask some friends over for a glass of wine or a dinner party. Make your apartment more than just a temporary dwelling. Make it a home.
Every city needs a dedicated team of volunteers to help keep things running. Volunteering for various organizations around town will not only help you get to know it better, but it’ll also give you a better understanding of what the city’s needs are and how you can satisfy them. Groups like the Junior League, Rotary Club, and Big Brothers Big Sisters have established chapters in most major cities, and all of them offer some wonderful volunteering opportunities. Giving back to your new community will help you feel like a part of it almost instantly, and it might even make you think about staying permanently.