Moving into a large city is a very daunting task. It can be overwhelming even for someone who visits frequently. You have to start asking yourself questions you don’t think of very often like, “What day is trash day and did I miss recycling?”
Depending on where you’re moving from some of the changes might be easy and some might be more difficult. Moving to a large city all from a small rural town, I’ve gone through the ups and downs and have a short list of tips and tricks that might make your transition a little easier.
Tip 1: Research your neighbourhood!
Knowing the basic layout of the neighbourhood you’re relocating to can be invaluable! Give it a good google search and find the places you’ll be frequenting. It is always good to save time by knowing the nearest bank branch, laundromat, and your favourite take out food spot. You’ll get an idea of where you might be able to meet some friends or at least get the best burger.
If you need a little more help getting acquainted with the neighbourhoods you can always get help from a destination consultant. These are people from companies like Pacific Coast Accommodations that are already experts in the areas you might be interested in. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them for a neighbourhood tour!
Tip 2: Start forming a social circle
Getting to know some people in a new place is an extremely tough thing to do. However, it’s also one of the most important! Getting your social circle up and running as soon as possible is paramount to fully enjoying any city experience. You don’t want to be missing out on the bar that has the fanciest margarita or the cheap thrift store a couple of streets over.
Friends are a great way to experience the less well-known facets of the city. The big city will even start to really feel like home once you are surrounded by new friends!
Tip 3: Find a good gas station or corner store and become a regular
This one may seem a little silly but I promise it’s super important! Becoming a regular at a good gas station or corner store has a long list of perks. The first of these perks being that you’ll sometimes get an extra special discount or a treat! I can’t even recall every time I got a small bag of chips for free just because I was a familiar, friendly face.
Getting your own corner store feels a little bit like finding that one restaurant that you and your friends always meet at after work. It is an easy way to build up your sense of community and get a couple treats along the way. And, it’s super advantageous to support the local businesses.
Tip 4: Nail down your methods of transportation early on!
This is a mistake that I made and lived to regret as my years in the new city went on. Cities are fantastic places to walk around and oftentimes you can find what you need nearby. That is not always the case, though. Sometimes you may need to quickly be on the other side of town and services like rideshares and cabs can begin to break the bank.
There are a couple options when it comes to deciding which mode of transportation is best for you. Depending on the city you are moving to, it is worth looking into passes for their bus or metro/subway system. Sometimes you can get a great deal either through your employer or some seasonal promotions. This can seriously cut down on costs if you are buying discounted monthly passes as opposed to multiple one way tickets per day!
You also have the option of getting a scooter or bicycle. Most larger cities in Canada have great accommodations for people riding bikes or scooters with designated lanes and street signs to boot! I can’t tell you how many times I had wished I invested in my own bicycle as the years went on. It would have saved me a lot of time and money and it’s great exercise too!
Tip 5: Don’t be afraid to explore a little outside of your comfort zone!
Cities have a peculiar way of hiding some of their best features in some of the most inconspicuous places. Whether it is on the city outskirts or on a tiny side street you’re constantly running the chance of finding a place that absolutely blows your mind. It could be the cutest coffee shop you’ve ever seen. It might be an art mural that really resonates with you.
Whatever it is, you’ll have a higher chance of finding it if you explore! The neighbourhood research from Tip #1 is still crucial, don’t get me wrong. However, exploring a bit outside of your comfort zone is where some of the magic happens. You’ll start to really feel like a part of the city atmosphere and see yourself becoming more and more like a local!
These are just some fun tips that I personally picked up over the course of moving to a new, big city in my early 20’s. Some of them are sillier than others but they are genuinely going to help you lay down a foundation in a place that at first glance can be pretty overwhelming. The city is so full of life and excitement it can be hard not to love and I hope with some of these tidbits in mind you can take full advantage of an awesome opportunity to live in one!