It can be overwhelming and daunting to move to a totally new place. You don’t know many people, you don’t know the area, and you may not even know how to get to the post office and library. But by stepping out of your comfort zone and doing a little exploring, you can get settled quickly into your new neighborhood in Grand Rapids, home to 198,000.
This city and county seat of Kent County is the second most populated city in the state, after Detroit. Once you’ve hired trustworthy movers to get you there, check out these ways you can put yourself out there and get to know the people and activities in your new neighborhood — even in winter.
Do Your Research Before Stepping Out
Get to know your neighborhood online before you make your way out in person. Check maps, nearby amenities, local Chambers of Commerce, community calendars, places of worship, doctors, schools, movie theaters, retailers, pet stores, vets, coffee shops, grocery stores and more. Check the Grand Rapids website and social media pages to see what’s going on.
Just be sure to go beyond the scope of online activities and eventually branch out to in-person meet-ups and interactions. This will help you branch out and socialize within your new community but you have to push yourself at first. This can be the hardest part.
Take a Walk
Sometimes the best way to explore is to just go for a walk and see where you end up. Take yourself, your kids or your dog, but get out there and explore. Take a walk around the block. Chat with neighbors who may be outside grabbing the mail. They’ll tell you the scoop about what’s going on.
Perhaps there’s a Neighborhood Watch group you could get involved in. If you have small children, this is a great ice breaker as you introduce your kids as well as yourself. Set up play groups for them as well as your pets. Check out local trails, go beyond the perimeter of your neighborhood and branch out into others. To go further, take your bike. The point is to be accessible and in touch with nature as you take in the sights and sounds of your new neighborhood.
In your travels, lend a hand to anyone in need. Is there an elderly neighbor who is struggling to shovel snow? Do you spot an expectant mother trying to bring in the groceries while juggling a sleeping toddler? Head over with a shovel and help the old lady; run over and offer to take some bags in for that frazzled mom.
Not only will you appear caring and helpful, you can take the opportunity to introduce yourself and pave the way for a friendship. Maybe next time you’re in need of help, that neighbor will come to your aid. Ask them in for tea or offer to have a play date next time. Kindness speaks volumes and it costs you nothing.
Getting involved in community events, sports and activities is another great way to get to know your neighborhood. Sign up for a 5K, attend a festival, join the local gym, get a membership to a museum or country club, or join a book club. It doesn’t have to be organized, though. It can be an impromptu sledding race down the local hill, or some leisurely ice skating at a pond or rink.
Bowling and axe throwing are fun indoor winter activities that can get you out of the house once a week to meet people and form friendships. Being sociable in social settings can help you break the ice with people you may never have thought you would connect with.
Go the extra mile to meet people with whom you share a common interest; these could be lifelong friendships that you’re forming right now.
You may already have a job, which incidentally is a great way to meet new people, but add to that with volunteer opportunities. The holidays offer good opportunities to get involved in soup kitchens, homeless shelters and local children’s charities, but these are also opportunities that occur all year long.
There are many families in Grand Rapids that need help and support, so reach out and find them. Ask at your job, your local library, town hall or at your kids’ school. Check out VolunteerMatch for local opportunities.
Work at a Coffee House
If you work remotely, who says you have to be stuck at home every day? Switch things up and work at a coffeehouse with your laptop while sipping a cappuccino. You can keep an eye on the action and chat with the locals. Getting to know the barista can pay off too so she will always have your favorite drink ready.
Instead of heading to a booth, sit at a community dining table or the counter. It’s always better to eat with others, and this is a great chance to have a casual chat with strangers who could soon be your friends. From coffee houses and sandwich shops to jazz bars and clubs, this is a fun way to mingle.
Be an Involved Parent
Got kids? Join the school’s PTO and attend all the meetings. Sign up for class parties and school events to get to know other teachers and parents. It can be hard for you and your kids to make friends, especially when you’re a mid-year transferee.
Contact Big Lake Movers
We know Grand Rapids, so trust us to get you relocated here seamlessly and affordably. Ask us questions about your neighborhood and we would be happy to oblige. Get a free quote on your Grand Rapids move when you call us today!