16 Tips For Moving From a Small Town to a Big City

Moving From Small Town to Big City

If you grew up in a small town like me, then moving to a big city can be quite daunting. Small town life versus city life is completely opposite in many ways! In a small town, you know almost every person who lives there, every restaurant to eat at, and where everything thing is.

With city life, there is so much more to explore, thousands of people that you will never meet, and hundreds of restaurants that may never even cross your mind. If you recently moved from a small town, or are planning to move to a big city soon this article will help provide you with tips on how to navigate your new world.

Table of Contents

Tips For Moving to a Big City

Research Neighborhoods

The best neighborhood is one that fits your needs and style. Before making a big move to the city we recommend that you do plenty of research to see which neighborhood will match who you are and what you need.

For example, if you love walking to restaurants and adore local parks to still though, find a neighborhood with all the amenities that you crave!

Meet the Cost of Living Threshold

Cost of Living

Moving does not mean you need to struggle or live outside of what you can afford. Follow through with a city that matches your budget and try to meet the cost of living threshold. No one wants to move to a new city and constantly worry about finances or barely be able to make ends meet.

Cities like Philadelphia can be crazy expensive to live in. If a specific city is too much for your pocketbook, it may be best to hold off on that particular place and look for something a little more budget-friendly.

Access Google Maps

Google maps is how I have learned to navigate almost every new city that I have ever moved to!

I honestly don’t know how people lived before technology because it is such a lifesaver (and time saver)! Google maps is great at helping you find new places to shop, eat, and play! Not only does it help you see where these places are, but it also gives you additional information regarding each place such as contact info, customer reviews, and access to prices.

Embrace Cultural Diversity

Big cities are full of new people from all over the world. You must learn to embrace the diverse cultures and broad expansion of ethnicities that the city brings.

Expect to learn about new types of food with delicious spices and smells, enchanting music with exotic instruments, and unique languages. Embracing cultural diversity will help expand your mind and make you more well-rounded as a human being.

Pack Lightly

Pack Lightly

You won’t have quite as much space when you move to the city (unless you pay extra for it)! Chances are that you will live in a condo or apartment building with limited bedrooms and square footage. If you have ever considered becoming a minimalist, now is the time!

Packing lightly can help you start a new way of life with just the basics. You don’t want to start your new life feeling overwhelmed and cluttered, so we highly recommend it!

Related –> How to Declutter Your Home Before Moving

Always Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

More people in the city means more crimes are taking place. You always want to be aware of your surroundings and be on the lookout for anything that looks or feels out of the ordinary.

Muggings are something that happens in the city, so it helps to try to blend in with the crowd. Don’t let yourself stand out too much and avoid being too flashy with expensive jewelry, clothes, and accessories.

Buy Earplugs

The noise was one of the biggest adjustments for me when I moved to the city for the first time. Coming from a small, quiet town that shuts down by 8 PM, then moving to a city that is on the go 24/7 had my sleep schedule a mess!

If you are a light sleeper like myself it may help to buy earplugs or a noise machine to help drown out the sounds of the outside and allow you to get a full night’s rest! Unless of course, you are a night owl yourself, then you should blend in perfectly!

Learn About Public Transportation

Public Transportation

Ditch your personal car and navigate the city on foot, bicycle, by bus, taxi, subway, or train! Parking in the city is a nightmare! It is way easier to learn to get around using public transportation than it is to drive around yourself. Public transit systems are found in every big city across the United States.

Find A Roommate To Live With

If you are moving alone to the city, you may want to find a roommate to live with.

Having a roommate can help you adjust quickly and they may even be able to assist you with settling into your new home. Living with a roommate can be a rewarding experience because you can see how other people live, expand your friend group, and share expenses.

Explore New Hobbies

New cities will have a plethora of different classes to take and places to visit.

Explore new hobbies that you have always dreamed of trying or experience something completely new to you. Different hobbies could include painting in an art class, joining a fitness studio, discovering your passion for photography, or even learning a new language.

Don’t Take Things Personally

Busy Sidewalk

The city is a fast-paced place where everyone is on a mission to get something done. Between afternoon lunch dates, work meetings, and yoga classes, city folk are usually always on the move and don’t have time for nonsense.

Don’t take it personally if they don’t slow down while walking next to you or if they don’t greet you with a friendly smile. Typically they are just hyper-focused on which task is next on their very long list.

Adjust Your Mindset

You may need to adjust your mindset to live in a big city.

Small town mindsets are more casual, slow-paced, and relaxed. A small town mindset is great if you want a small town lifestyle, but once you move to the city it may be best to switch things up. City life will reset your thinking to be more fast-paced, goal-oriented, and bigger overall.

Move Quicker

As we learned above, the city is a fast-paced place. If you don’t match the pace of the city, you may get left behind. To properly adjust to city life it is crucial that you move quicker! So to become a better city slicker you will want to walk faster, make rapid decisions, and work on your overall development.

Find A Job That You Enjoy

Enjoying what you do in any city is important. No one wants to spend their days going to a job that they don’t like. Find a job that you enjoy because it will help your days go smoothly, and your adjustment period will be a little less stressful.

Allow Yourself Time To Adjust

Sometimes we don’t adjust to new places right away. It is okay if you don’t swiftly adjust to the city within the first few weeks. Give yourself time to adjust, and learn more things about your new home. The city has so much to learn about, and it can take you a few months to get into the swing of things!

Enjoy The Simple Things

Take time to enjoy the simple things that the city gives to you. Maybe you come across a street performer who is perfectly executing your favorite song, or maybe you find a little ice cream shop that has your favorite type of milkshake.

Whatever simple things you find, enjoy them and take a moment to appreciate them.

Final Thoughts

Moving to the city is a whole new experience, especially if you are originally from a small town. Just like moving to a small town from a big city is quite an adjustment as well!

The people are vastly different, and the atmosphere is quick-paced, with something always going on. If you are taking the next steps to move to a city that you have been dreaming about, the above list of tips should not only help you adjust but should also help you learn a new perspective.


I've been a college coach for going on 20 years now and that career has led Jen and I on quite the journey. We've lived in 7 different states and have moved a dozen different times. We've learned A LOT over the course of all those moves and we want to pass on our knowledge to help others going through the moving process.

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