Getting a feel for a new neighborhood is one of the most important first steps you can take in starting the search for a new home. In the long run, finding a community that offers the amenities and attractions you need may be just as important as finding a home with the features on your wishlist.
But even if you spend time exploring a neighborhood, town, or community before you buy, there are still going to be some hidden gems to discover, and new experiences to try out once you’ve moved in. Just as it may take time to unpack and settle into your new home, it may take a little bit of time before you get accustomed to your new surroundings.
One of the best ways to make a new place feel like home is to go out and explore, so that you can start appreciating all the wonderful new things that your area has to offer. Need some inspiration to get started? Here are five fun and informative ways to get to know your new neighborhood in no time:
1.) Grab a Bite to Eat
From the city to the suburbs, the Chicagoland area is known for being an incredible destination for foodies. Whether you’re looking for a five-star experience or a quick and easy place to grab a slice of pizza, it’s worth exploring your new neighborhood for your next favorite spots.
For serious food lovers and picky eaters alike, getting to know an area’s restaurants can be a great way to get out and start enjoying yourself. Plus, eating out may be a requirement while you unpack your kitchen supplies, wait for new appliances to get shipped, and otherwise get your kitchen and dining areas ready to go. To start finding local restaurants, try turning to reviews and recommendation sites online. You could also look for recommendations from your new neighbors or your real estate professional, or simply go for a drive and take note of all the places that make your mouth water.
2.) Go for a Stroll or a Drive
There’s no better way to get to know your new neighborhood than by going out and immersing yourself in all of the incredible sights and sounds it has to offer. As you settle in, be sure to build in plenty of time to go out for walks, or make a point to see the community from your car or via public transit.
Exploring a new spot in this way is a great way to get used to your new surroundings, and help an unfamiliar place start to feel like home. In addition to helping you acclimate, seeing the neighborhood can help you get the lay of the land, allowing you to start mentally planning out your work commute, or your daily trip to the gym. While you’re out, take note of any shops, restaurants, and parks that catch your eye, so you can visit them later. You might also use these expeditions to relax, unwind, and step away from the hustle and bustle of moving for a few minutes at a time.
3.) Hit the Town Like a Tourist
What is your new neighborhood known for? Across Chicagoland, every community has a story to tell — and some amazing attractions to add to your local bucket list.
Eventually, you’ll settle in and your neighborhood will start to feel comfortable and familiar. But for now, why not take advantage of your fresh eyes and go do all of the “touristy” things in town? You can have a great time, meet people, and learn more about your new surroundings by visiting a local museum, exploring the nearby state park, taking a historic walking tour, or seeing a show at the legendary concert venue near your house. Search online, talk to a neighbor, or ask your real estate agent for recommendations of things to see, do, and experience in your new home base.
4.) Shop Local
While you’re out exploring, keep a list of the shops, boutiques, and stores that catch your eye, and make it a point to visit them when you can. Shopping local can be a great way to pick up home elements you may want to replace or update following the big move — from clothing, to home decor items, to food, to space-saving storage solutions. At the same time, visiting the local gems can be a great way to discover what makes your new neighborhood special. Striking up conversations with shopkeepers and small business owners can also be an excellent way to learn more about the area, so don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations, ideas, or stories as you shop.
5.) Talk to Your Neighbors
Settling into a new community can feel like an enormous transition — especially if you’re moving away from family and friends, or to a place where you don’t know many people. One of the best ways to start making new acquaintances and getting a feel for your community is to reach out to your neighbors. This could be as simple as saying hello and making light conversation when you go out to walk the dog, or meeting new people by attending a community meeting or block party. You could also take some time to go around and introduce yourself to your new neighbors, or host a housewarming party.
Before long, you might be surprised by how quickly you’ve made lifelong friends and developed a support network! Even early on, your neighbors can be a wonderful resource, helping give recommendations for things to do, or offering tips for navigating the neighborhood with ease.
6.) Get Involved in Community Events
What better way to get to know your new area than to become involved in local organizations, events, and service opportunities? Signing up to volunteer with a local service organization, for example, can be a great way to meet people who share your interests, while learning more about your new community and making a difference along the way. Similarly, spend some time searching for local clubs or meetups using a service such as Nextdoor, Facebook Groups, or Meetup. The government or chamber of commerce for your new neighborhood or village may also have resources available online, such as event calendars, calls for volunteers, club sign-ups, and more.
Discover Chicagoland With Baird & Warner
Looking for a new place to call home? Ready to go out and start getting to know Chicagoland, but not sure where to start? We get you. At Baird & Warner, our agents are hyperlocal experts who can help you find the community that will be the right match for you — while making the real estate process easier, at every step of the way.
Whether you want to start your home search, discover more about local market conditions, or even just get recommendations for the tastiest restaurants in town, we’re here to help. And with mortgage and title services available in-house, we’ll take the stress out of closing on your home — so you can start exploring your new neighborhood in no time!