So you moved to a new city and you can't manage to get too far from your apartment or dorm without your GPS. Integrating yourself into a new city can sometimes feel scary and disorienting, but if you're willing to put yourself out there it's totally possible! We asked professional nomad and filmmaker, Kenny Laubbacher to give us the run down on how to become a local in a new place.
If you're reading this, it's likely that you may have just seized an opportunity to relocate to the city of your dreams and are out to master said new city as an Anthony Bourdain status local. Or you may be reading this because you were forced into a new city either for college or a new job and you're feeling a little lonely and in desperate need of human interaction, so you're on the hunt for the proverbial watering holes of community in your new city. Whatever your reasons for reading this, I hope these tips set you on a path to new friendships and adventures.
Before we get into the actual activities, I wanted to give some basic reminders as you get started:
1) SAY YES TO EVERYTHING. You're going to have to get outside of your comfort zone. If someone invites you out, go with it. You never know who you might meet or what special nook you'll find that you'll love forever.
2) ASK PEOPLE YOU ALREADY KNOW. Chances are you know someone who knows someone in the new city you're living in. Ask them for tips or to set you up on a friend date.
3) LMGTFY. Use Google to research your new city. Get to know the touristy spots and the up-and-coming, new, artsy spots. Stay up to date about news, events, parks, restaurants, etc. C'mon, Google has everything you need to know.
Okay, now that we're passed the basics, here are some tips to getting to know your new city.
1) FOOD. The first thing you need to find out is what food your city makes better than anywhere else in the world and then find your favorite restaurant that serves that food. This is the first thing anyone will ask when visiting. Restaurants and Farmers' Markets are also a great place to meet new people. If you're on the hunt for new friends, don't be afraid to eat alone as one person is more approachable than a group.
2) MUSIC. Humans love music. Whatever city you're in there's likely a flashing-lights-bottle-service-booty-shaking rave club, a dirty rock bar, tight-pants-wearing-vegan indie venue or a coffee shop featuring a singer with songs that will make your girlfriend cry. Whatever your flavor find a venue that suits you as you will likely find like-minded people here.
3) ART. Check your local museum for free days. There is usually one day a week/month where museums open their doors for the public to enjoy free of charge. Art galleries also usually have art openings and provide free food and drinks to attendees. On The Grid is a great resource from local artists around the world about different shops and art hubs so check to see if your city is listed.
4) HIKES. My favorite thing to do in a new city is to find nature. I live in the heart of LA and you'd be surprised how many incredible hikes are within a 30-minute drive. Local Hikes is a great place to get started on your hunt for the perfect hike.
5) HOBBIES. The best place to find people with similar interests as you is to join a group or organization with people who have similar interests as you. Whether it's joining an indoor soccer team or volunteering at a local shelter, do what makes you come alive and people will be attracted to it. Libraries and local community centers can be a great place to look for free classes or events.
6) WEBSITES/APPS. Local online communities like Meetup.com are a great way to force yourself out of the house to meet new people. Additionally, dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, Hinge and Raya, could be a good place to meet the person of your dreams in the city of your dreams. Craigslist has a great section under "Community & Activities" for more options. And if you're lucky, there are apps like LA's FIVE EVERY DAY in your city. It lists out five amazing things to do every day (hence the clever name)!
Photos and words by: Kenny Laubbacher
Model: Ashley Whelan