How to Fall in Love with Your Neighborhood

You did it! You searched around, took a leap, and actually moved to a new neighborhood. Now comes the fun part—breaking the ice and diving deep into everything that makes your neighborhood great. Here are some tips for how to feel the love faster than two attractive protagonists in a ninety-minute romantic comedy:

Walk It Out

Yes, driving can be faster, but you’ll notice things in a different way when you’re strolling rather than rolling. The old oak trees on the side of a certain road, the interesting graffiti by that intersection you’re always crossing—walking lets you see the streets with new eyes (and toned legs).

Ask For (And Actually Take!) Other People’s Advice

Start a running list of restaurants, bars, and parks as family, friends-of-friends, and straight-up strangers recommend them to you. Bonus—sending them a text after you take their recommendation can win you some major friendship points, too!

Optimize Your Routine

Sunday groceries. Thursday drinks. Weekday commute. Once you nail down the repeatable parts of your week, your neighborhood will feel friendlier as opposed to overwhelming with the number of unknowns. Locking in your need-to-dos can let you focus on exploring new want-to-dos, like joining a running club or checking out that cute indie bookstore.

Switch It Up

On the flip side of the coin, don’t get locked into the closest taco joint or the easiest grocery store just because you went there your first week. If you keep exploring, you might find an even better fish taco or paper towel deal just a block or two away from your usual haunts.

Say Yes

Changing areas gives you a chance to start over and tweak who you are. You can be someone who rides their bike to work or someone who always hits a certain farmer’s market with a friend on Saturday mornings. Let people know you’re open to new things – and follow through!

Use Your Phone for Tips

Ah yes, searching the old, “restaurants near me.” But guess what—it works when your phone actually knows more about a new neighborhood than you do. You can scope out ratings, reviews, and download apps that point you in new directions.

Let Your Workout Work for You

If there’s a specific type of exercise or kind of gym you enjoy, that can be an anchor in your schedule. You also know that the other people there share at least one interest with you, so strike up a conversation in the locker room or the lobby after class. Finding a new exercise routine will also help you feel settled as you create a healthy lifestyle.

Explore the Great Outdoors

If you live in a neighborhood with great parks, what are you waiting for? Exploring them at different times of day (a morning jog, a stroll after work, even potentially meeting friends or dates there rather than a restaurant) can lead to discovering new favorite parts of your local routine. Best of all, they’re usually free.

Let Puppy Love Lead You

Waking your dog, exploring local dog runs, and talking to other pet owners about pooch-friendly stores, outdoor restaurants, and doggie daycares in the area can lead to friendships and connections for you and your furry friend.

Read the Signs

Literally—many bookstores will advertise local authors coming to talk on sidewalk signs, clubs will have musical acts, restaurants have special happy hours – and these events are usually cheap, friendly, and full of local flavor.

Many neighborhoods will also have published guides to orient newcomers online (check out some of RadPad’s here), with a roundup of places to eat, drink, and hang out.

So get out there and explore! After all, when it comes to both rom-coms and neighborhoods, it takes some time and effort for true love to blossom.