Moving to a new city is an exciting and anxious time. Whether it is for work, school or general interest, moving takes a lot of time and energy. However, it is crucial that once you arrive that you make the most of your time. You will want to learn about the community, the important places, events and personalities. Most importantly, you will want to build a circle of friends and associates that can help you better understand the new city. There are a few specific things to do.


Learn the geography of a new city by pulling out a map and looking at the parks, neighborhoods, major landmarks and geographic features. Mark out each different neighborhood and write down the names for future explorations. San Francisco has a series of hills that make it easier or harder to traverse. There is the Mission district that has amazing Mexican restaurants and the CBD which has first class offices and fine dining for example.


New visitors should also learn the transportation systems and road as soon as possible. What are the major highways and thoroughfares? How does the subway and bus system work? What are the major stations? In New York Times Square and Grand Central Station each serve about 50 million rides per year. Anybody exploring this city needs to be familiar with these stops and how they intersect with other lines.


Giving back to a community is the best way to meet civic leaders and charitable community members while doing a good deed. This could come in the form of a charity dinner, volunteering at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter or clinic. Interacting with these vulnerable community members will help you to understand the problems and issues of a town. It also allows you to meet the inspiring people working to change the situation.

Cultural Organizations

Attending cultural events or groups that highlight local art, music, dance or film are great ways to understand a community. These pieces shine a light on what life is truly like in the community. Additionally, the members of these organizations have deep experience with the city and the pivotal experiences that make it unique.


One of the best ways to learn a city is to do so through dining. Local cuisine gives you an understanding of the people and how they like to enjoy life. It also takes you to different neighborhoods to explore the best options. You have to eat anyways, you might as well do so while exploring the new city. For example, Chicago has Chinatown, Lincoln Park, Rogers Park, Old Town, Wrigleyville, Hyde Park and other neighborhoods that each have their own distinctive local eateries and communities.


Of course, nobody can truly understand a city without visiting its greatest landmarks. Buying a tourist book or looking on TripAdvisor for the top spots is a good place to start. New residents of Washington D.C. must be sure to explore the Smithsonian, the National Mall, the Memorials, the White House, Capitol and an array of other museums.

Community Groups

Last but not least, new residents need to get involved in community groups according to their passions. Do you like chess, movies or football? There should be clubs and meet-ups for those activities. Be sure to join these groups and go regularly. Slowly but surely over time, you will build up a circle of friends and acquaintances from these events. Those people will teach you the secrets, lore, culture and popular activities of the city.

Every city has the things that make it unique and special. Whether it is the neighborhoods, the food or the people exploring and learning about a new place is a tremendous joy. While it may produce anxiety to be in an unfamiliar new place, over time it will become home.