The first time I moved out of state to a place where my timid self knew no one, my aunt told me this:
“If you can find a hair salon,a church and a place to go on Saturday night, you’ll start to love living there so much sooner”
I’ve now moved twenty-six times and as a Moving Concierge for Pad Porter, I work with tons of Philadelphia clients who are equal parts excited and anxious to meet new people and get acclimated to their new neighborhoods. I’ve expanded on my aunt’s list of what can really help a new neighborhood or city feel less like foreign terrain and more like home base. Here’s the Pad Porter list of essential places to explore as soon as you move to a new area, so you can begin to love your new hood even faster.
1 – A local watering hole or cafe.
Have you ever asked someone what they love most about their neighborhood? Chances are, their answer includes something like: “the little coffee shop on the corner” or “this awesome dive bar with Quizzo night and Joe the bartender (he’s so cute).” It’s not a coincidence– having a neighborhood go-to spot (or a local jawn, as we say in Philly) will help you love your neighborhood more. Find a place close to your home, stop in for a quick bite or drink, introduce yourself, and ask for neighborhood recommendations. Congrats– you’ve just become a regular!
2 – A grocery store you love.
Let’s face it, eating is mandatory, and finding the foods you like is a big part of feeling comfortable in your nest. Whether it’s Instacart, an ethnic food market or Whole Food’s, seek out the grocery store that matches your taste in your first week. And remember, it’s okay to grab your fave comfort food when putting together your Ikea furniture inevitably starts to drive you insane.
3 – A place to recharge your batteries.
When life gets tough or you’re having a difficult adjustment to the new job, having a place that centers you emotionally is crucial for fighting the “I wish I was back home” blues. Whether it’s a gym, massage studio, or church, proactively seek out a place that helps you feel rejuvenated. Then make it a routine.
4 – A place to look great.
My friend drove 2 hours away every month to return to his hometown just for a haircut. Sure, he looked great, but as time progressed these trips eroded his exploration of his new city. It becomes so much easier to love your new place if you associate it with being at your best – and looking your best.
5 – Weekend delight & Saturday night.
After a long week, you deserve to take some time to do things that stimulate you, and help build your social network. Whether it’s going to a street festival, baseball game, art gallery, concert, or dance venue, find some activities that you love to do no matter who you’re with. It helps to do the things you love, so you can chat it up with new people there with the comfort of knowing they’re into the same things you are. And make sure some of your Saturday nights are booked. It’s important to escape the SNL reruns and 3-star Netflix movies every once and awhile. Uwishunu.com and Meetups.com are great resources for finding new activities.
6 – Reliable support for your top errands.
We all have a standard list of errands that we come back to every week or two. It could include mailing packages for your online store, getting your clothes dry cleaned, picking up prescriptions from the pharmacy, or going to the pet store. Research a few of these places once you’ve chosen your new neighborhood so your routine can incorporate going to these spots, and not just spending hours reading online reviews.