How To Familiarize Yourself With A New City

You’ve just moved to a new city. You’re starting a new job soon, and you have little time to get to know the city before you fall back into the grind. There are a million things to do to get settled in, and you don’t know anyone in the area that can help. Whether you moved voluntarily or not, what do you do when you need to familiarize yourself with your new city as soon as possible? 

It sounds a bit intimidating, but it’s very much possible to become a local in no time. Here are some tips that should help you out: 

Read the news 

One of the best ways to get familiar with a new city is to read the local news. For example, if you’ve moved to Detroit, subscribe to online current news channels, and read a few pieces from time to time. Doing so will inform you of what’s happening in the community, what the local government is doing and planning to do, and what kinds of development is in store for the city. The local news can also help you find places to check out, such as restaurants, museums, entertainment hubs, and community parks. 

Practice commuting to work


Before you start your new job, it’s a great idea to practice commuting to your workplace. In this way, you know exactly where you need to go to get to work and avoid the risk of coming in late on your first day. If you have a car, plug in the location of your workplace in a GPS app and drive there from your house or apartment. Take note of how the traffic is during that time to determine how early you need to leave your place. You can also try to find alternative routes that can take you to your office faster or cheaper.

If you’re using public transport, on the other hand, find out which bus stop or train station is nearest your home. Use Google Maps as a guide as you figure out where you need to get off (and get on again, if you have to make multiple trips). Similarly, observe how the traffic is and take note of the times with which the bus or train arrives so that you can find out what time you need to leave.


You have limited time before you have to start your new job, don’t spend it all on unpacking or wallowing in homesickness. After you unpack the necessities, take the time to explore your new city. Get a feel for your new environment. Walk around your neighborhood and check out the local shops. Pretend you’re a tourist and go to the local attractions. If you have an acquaintance or a family member living in the city, ask them to tour you around and help you get familiar with the place.

Treat your first few weeks in the new city like an adventure; an exploration. Apart from speeding up your adjustment period, it’s also an excellent way to avoid feelings of loneliness or homesickness, which is very common for people moving to a new place alone.

 Establish a new routine

Familiarity has a lot to do with routine. In your old city, you had a routine in place, dropping by at the coffee shop before work, doing grocery shopping on the weekends, jogging around the park in the evenings. These repetitive activities are what make a place so familiar to us. And when that routine is disrupted by a move, you would have to establish a new one in your new environment.

When you move to a new city, the lack of a familiar routine can make the experience stressful, and perhaps even a little scary. That said, establishing a new routine as soon as you get there makes it easier for you to settle and become familiar with your surroundings.

To do this, create a schedule that is similar to your old routine. If you used to go jogging in the park at night but now have no parks near your place, find a new jogging route to take. If there is a coffee shop on your way to work, see if their coffee is good enough as your everyday brew. Creating a new routine is often tricky, but things will fall into place faster if you keep an open mind for adjustments.

Unfamiliarity is the reason why moving to a new city is often a tough experience. These tips should help you become familiar with your new surroundings faster than you might have expected, which is something that you need to do if you have to get settled in quickly for whatever reason.