The Wheaton Blog
How to Adjust to City Life
When you move from one city to another, you experience a lot of changes. You need to learn how to get around, where the closest grocery stores are, and what your neighbors are like.
But to change not only cities but speeds of life adds new complexities to the stresses of moving. Rural life and city life move at different paces. Everything from transportation norms to recreational activities shifts with the change of environment.
If you are leaving a quiet town and moving into the big city, consider these ways to adjust to your new lifestyle.
Learn to use public transportation.
Public transportation is the key that unlocks the city. If you don’t learn the metro and bus systems, you’ll feel like an outsider forever. As soon as you get a handle on getting around using public transportation, the city will fall wide open to you.
First, get a public transport map of the city. Below are some of the websites for major U.S. cities:
- New York’s Subway
- Washington D.C.’s Metro
- San Francisco’s Muni
- Los Angeles’ Metro
- Chicago’s Public Transportation
- Houston’s Bus and Rail
To become familiar with these maps, identify the closest subway or bus stop to your home. Then, locate a few key places and how to get to them using your map. For example, find the closest stops to popular parks, tourist sites, and the public library.
Subscribe to an events calendar.
One of the most exciting things about living in a big city is its vast array of cultural events and entertainment. Many of these events are free. Most cities have some kind of online events calendar for residents to explore. These calendars list all kinds of local events, including:
- Art exhibits
- Sporting events
- Shopping highlights
- Restaurant recommendations
- Poetry readings
- Dance recitals
- Hobby enthusiasts’ meetings
No matter what kind of entertainment you enjoy, you can find it happening in your city.
You might also buy a traveler’s guide to the city. Though you might be anxious to feel like a resident and not a tourist, it can be fun to visit recommended sites and restaurants. Then you can move on to finding the real local gems.
A big place starts to feel like home when it is full of friends. Make connections and get to know people to feel at ease in your new environment. You might get involved in a local chapter of your church. You could sign up to volunteer with a service organization. Sign up for an exercise class.
When you do things you already love, you’ll soon meet those who also enjoy your hobbies. This makes for an easy first conversation. These new friends will help you feel less far from home and will help show you the ropes of your new city.
Spend plenty of time exploring.
True, the city may not have hills, rivers, and open space as readily available as the countryside does. But that doesn’t mean you need to hide indoors. Cities provide the chance to explore different kinds of landscapes. These landscapes include skyscrapers and art museums, vast parks and locals-only cafes. Get your feet wet by having your own first-hand experiences with these places and you’ll soon come to love the city as your own.
And if you do start to ache for the countryside, visit the parks and gardens in the city. Reconnecting with nature, even amid skyscrapers, will help you recognize that you don’t need to be alone in nature to reap many of its benefits.
There are many ways to adjust to life in the big city. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to be patient with yourself and your new environment. Try these tips to make your adjustment even smoother.