Photo credit: Pedro Ribeiro Simões / Flickr
Exploring a new city, whether it is your new home or a vacation spot, can be both exciting and a little challenging. You probably don’t want to walk around with a map looking like a tourist, so you have a few options.
First, search the Internet before you arrive, so you have at least an idea of your surroundings. Your other option is to throw caution to the wind and just explore the city with an open mind and a backpack with a few necessities such as the following:
- Small amount of cash (small bills and change) for food and beverages;
- Umbrella or rain poncho (for warm wet weather);
- Hats and gloves (for cold weather);
- Small first aid kit;
- Any prescription medications and ibuprofen (enough for the day);
- Write the phone number and address of where you are staying down (if you are in a foreign city write it in their native language);
- Sunscreen and sunglasses (for hot climates);
- Do a search of the neighborhoods you want to avoid (and avoid them);
- Local bus and train schedules;
- Map just in case you do get lost.
Hop on a City Bus
This is a great way to explore a new city. You can sit back and relax, take in your surroundings and not have to worry about keeping your eyes on the road. If you see a place that is of interest to you, get off the bus and go exploring. When you are done get back on the bus and repeat.
Ride the Train
If you know in advance of some place you would like to visit, take the train. If not, ride until you feel like getting off or see a place you want to investigate further. If you have moved or will be moving to the city, take the train to work ride it to the stop you will be getting off just to see how long the ride is and get comfortable with riding the train. The same advice applies to the bus.
Take a Walk
When you step outside your new home or hotel, look around and see what is nearby that you could walk to then set off on your journey. Take the time to look at the businesses and stores that you pass. This will give you a great idea of where you can grab lunch or dinner, get a haircut, or find a new dentist or doctor. You never know how close you are to the things you may need in your new city unless you venture out and see what’s close by.
Ask Your Neighbors or the Locals
If there is a specific place or activity you enjoy such as golfing, ask a new neighbor or a local for suggestions. It doesn’t matter if you ask about golfing, church, shopping, dining, local attractions, the school district or anything else, neighbors and locals are always happy to provide you with their favorite spots.
This is also a great way to make new friends. It can be lonely if you have just moved to a new city and do not know anyone. If you know what your neighbors enjoy doing, once you get settled in, invite them to dinner or to go out and do something.
Photos and Notes
While you are out exploring your new city, take lots of pictures especially of places you would like to visit. Also, jot down some notes in a little notebook of these places because in that way you will not forget where that fantastic museum or library was.
A new city is full of surprises, so leave early in the morning and return late at night. That way you will be sure to take in as much of the city as you can!