Seven Great Ways to Get To Know Your New Neighborhood

Moving is a stressful process, but the hardest part is that it doesn’t just end when the moving truck pulls away. Even once you’re ready, moved in, and unpacked, there’s more invisible work to do because your new neighborhood may hold your new house, but it’s not yet a new home. It takes time to start feeling comfortable in any community, and that can be the hardest part of a move, both for you and your family. But even though the transition’s never going to be immediate, there are certainly ways to make it easier. Here are just a few to start off.


Do your Research

The great news is that in the digital age, you can explore your neighborhood before you even arrive. Doing research before you move isn’t strictly necessary of course, but it can make finding a place in your new home a lot easier. Getting to a new place—not to mention unpacking, getting a family settled, starting a new job, etc.—is stressful enough already. And doing it without a support network of friends, no matter how helpful and wonderful your immediate family is, can be overwhelming.

More than likely you researched your house before going to see it—the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, floor plans, and utilities—so scope out your broader surroundings with the same concern because it’s not just your house; it’s your whole neighborhood that you’ll want to feel comfortable calling home.

It doesn’t even have to be hard. A simple Google search can turn up countless clubs, groups, and activities for you. Whether you’re looking for a yoga studio, a bowling league, or a ballet class for your kid, social media has made it incredibly easy to find and explore more options. You can even reach out to members of those groups and start making new connections immediately, becoming a part of the community even before moving day.

By utilizing Google Maps, you can view nearby parks, recreation centers, grocery stores and other amenities. You can even map out your drive to work or where your kids will catch the school bus. Becoming familiar with your new surroundings will elevate your chances of having a smooth first day, and keeping that momentum for every day thereafter.

You’ve probably done some “research” already, even if you didn’t know it. The observations you made during any kind of open houses, trips, and visits definitely qualify. And if you have any more, be sure to keep a keen eye out for places you want to check out, people you want to meet, and activities you and your family can enjoy once the stress of moving day is a thing of the past.


Explore the Neighborhood

Once you physically get to your new home, take your “research” to reality. Just like you’d seek out places of interest online, don’t let up just because you’re walking instead of typing. The best thing you can do to make a space for yourself in your new hometown is go all in. Become an anthropologist in your new neighborhood. Taking chances and exploring with your family not only familiarizes you with the area, but can also be a wonderful way to spend time with the ones you love. Not to mention a fun and easygoing way to unwind after a strenuous moving process fraught with strict timelines and rigid organization.

Plan to do something new in your community each week. Try local restaurants or a community bocce ball league. Visit the community center, the gym, the pool (weather permitting) or even just walk around the block. Moving to a new neighborhood is rarely easy, but being proactive can make all the difference.


Join a Group

Similar to exploring places, explore local groups and organizations—whether it’s a church, a sports league, an art class, or a book club. Though you may not think of yourself as the kind of person who generally enjoys these kinds of organized activities, it is the people you meet, not the opportunities themselves, that are the purpose. Finding those who share your interests and passions is a great way to make friends and create a community.

Long lasting friendships aren’t always founded on similar interests, but it’s a better shot than just stopping strangers on the street. Having a plan to try out a group gives you an easily actionable way to get out in your neighborhood. And another plus: the people you meet—even if they never become lifelong friends—can give you some insight into the community, and recommendations on the best restaurants and spots to visit.


Introduce Yourself to your New Neighbors

But perhaps the easiest way to make new acquaintances is simply by proximity. You’ll likely see your neighbors anyway—taking out the trash, checking the mail, gardening—so you might as well say hi. It can be difficult to strike up a conversation if you’re shy, but it can be worth it. You never know where your new neighborhood bestie will come from.

Most people are perfectly happy to meet a new neighbor, or to stop and chat, to answer any questions about the neighborhood and community. Ask about block parties, barbecues, or the neighborhood watch as well as just generally about the neighborhood.

If you’re not sure what to say, consider starting with a gift. Who can say no to a plate of fresh-baked cookies or a nice bottle of wine? With introductions out of the way, real friendships can start to form. Even if they never become more than casual acquaintances, knowing your neighbors adds another layer of belonging to your community. Next door neighbors help each other with collecting mail or feeding the cat while a household is on vacation. Team up with play dates and after school pickups. However big or small, these are great relationships to maintain.


Factor in your Kids’ Interests

If moving is stressful for you, think about how overwhelming it can be for your kids—especially if they’re shy or particularly upset about leaving your old home. To help them adapt to a new home, school, and neighborhood, scope out places and activities they might enjoy beforehand. Just like finding a group of likeminded people through an activity or sport can be helpful for adults, kids, too, thrive in more organized situations, especially around kids with whom they already know they share an interest.

Of course, the most important thing is that they’re happy, so make sure they are content with the activities they choose. A new neighborhood can also be an excuse to try something new; ask your kids if they want to push their hobbies into uncharted territory with a new sport, a new instrument, or a new hobby. Kids are always discovering and reinventing themselves, so a move can be a great opportunity for your kids to explore sides of their interests that they’ve not yet had the chance to figure out.

Even just going out to new places and trying new things as a family can get kids excited about a move. When you’re building your list of places to visit—whether it’s before or after your move—ask your kids to get involved. Discuss and review menus, course lists, and event flyers and ask them to decide on what piques their interest.


Take Advantage of Seasonal Activities

As the seasons change, so do the activities in your neighborhood. This is especially true if you live in an area that gets distinct seasons. Visit the local Christmas tree during winter, the pool during summer, and the pumpkin patch as the leaves start to change. Every town has different traditions and quirks, and discovering those can really make you feel a part of the community. And when the year is over, and you’ve come full circle, you can look back and view the progress you’ve  made in making your community an integral part of your home.


Bring the Party to You

And for the homebodies of the bunch—or those who just love throwing a good party—bring the neighborhood to you. Invite your neighbors over for a housewarming party, for snacks and cocktails or even a whole meal to get to know you and your family. True, it’s a great way to make friends in a space you feel comfortable, but it’s also a great opportunity to present your house. After all, you just moved in, might as well show it off.

Of course, the first thing to do is get everything unpacked, moved in, and your house in order, and that can be a struggle. Luckily, companies like Elite Moving and Storage not only help you get all your belongings moved safely, but they’ll even help you unpack with expert unpacking services. That way, you’ll waste no time breaking down boxes, and you can get right to the fun part—wine and hors d’oeuvres! Visit today to get started, get moved, and get acquainted with a new neighborhood today.