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Learning Your Way Around a New City

Tags:  Relocation, Life after college

If you've moved or are planning to move to a new city to start a brand new career after graduation, you may be feeling a bit intimidated by your surroundings. How do you find a great apartment? Where do you do your grocery shopping? What are the best restaurants in your neighborhood? You probably have a bunch of questions about where to find all the things that were second-nature to you in your home town.

To make your transition into this new environment a little bit easier, here are six suggestions on what you can do to help you learn your way around your new home.

Read the Newspaper

From newspapers you can get in tune with the daily life and local happenings of your new city as well as shop for local bargains. Depending on the city you choose, there may not only be a large daily, but there may also be smaller freebies.

The larger daily papers can provide you with local news so you can familiarize yourself with your neighbors. They generally also have advertising as well as inserts that can provide store coupons or information about the latest sales at retailers near you.

In addition in many large cities, like Los Angeles, you're apt to find free local newspapers such as the Recycler and the Los Angeles Free Press or in suburbs like the area known as the San Fernando Valley, two freebies include the Chatsworth Monthly and Yard, Garage, and Estate Sale. In fact one national freebie is the PennySaver available in many communities throughout the U.S. and often delivered with your regular snail mail.

Check Out the Convention and Visitors Bureau

One great source for information about any city you've never lived in (or in fact never visited) is the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

By conducting an Internet search – ""Convention and Visitors Bureau"" and ""City Name"" – you can find a wealth of information about your chosen city; everything from its historical background and upcoming events to restaurants and shopping.

Talk to Co-Workers and Neighbors

The best way to find out about local happenings and the best places to go is by asking those who have lived there for a while.

Make a friend at work and ask if they might give you a tour, especially of their favorite places to visit. Talk to your neighbors and ask where they do their shopping, laundry or dry cleaning.

Take a Tour of Your Neighborhood

How better to get to know your new (or soon to be new) area then by driving or walking around town. Look for recognizable landmarks like parks and major shopping centers so you can begin to become familiar the area.

Make sure you know where important services are. Look for the nearest gasoline station, hospital, police and fire department, and library. If you move into a complex without laundry facilities, you'll need to find a Laundromat. And last, but definitely not least, you'll want to find a doctor and dentist for when the need arises.

Be Prepared for Regional Differences

There are a lot of things that you are likely to find different from one end of the country to the other. Things like weather, dietary preferences, transportation and traditions -- just to name a few.

Even grocery shopping can be different. For instance, in Southern California where everything is spread out, large grocery stores are major chains like Ralph's, Vons and Albertsons. However, in places like New York City, shopping is typically done at the smaller family owned neighborhood market.

It's all about being prepared and doing your homework so you can learn your way around your new city.

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