How to Adjust to a New City You May Not Love

Updated: Mar. 25, 2022

Millions of Americans move each year, but not always by choice. Here’s how to make the most of your relocation and find happiness in your new home.

More than 40 million Americans move each year, but not always by choice. Whether you relocate because of a new job or school for you or your spouse, for a lower cost of living, or for better opportunities, adjusting to life in a new place can be scary and difficult—especially when you’re not in love with your new city. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your relocation and find happiness in your new home.

Treat it as an adventure
Living in a new place is a great opportunity to experience new things and to grow as a person. So stay positive, and get out there and explore! Sample the local cuisine. Visit landmarks and museums. Try local activities that weren’t available or popular in your former city, such as skiing if you came from a beach town or surfing if you lived in the mountains. You may discover a talent or interest you never knew you had.

Reach out
Introduce yourself to neighbors and everyone else you meet. Tell them you are new in town. It’s the best way to get advice and tips about living in your area and to make new friends.

Get involved
Attend local events that interest you. Visit the weekly farmer’s market or the neighborhood yard sale. Volunteer. Take a class. Join a sports league. All of these things will help you meet people and feel connected to your new town.

Locate the necessities
Driving, riding, or walking around your new neighborhood is the best way to learn where everything is. So head out and take note of the nearest supermarket, pharmacy, post office, library, etc.

Find what you love
You don’t have to give up your hobbies and interests just because you are in a new place. Seek out the things you’ve always enjoyed. If you love listening to live music, hunt for a local rock or jazz club. If you enjoy art, search for galleries. Websites like and are great places to look, as are local newspapers and websites.

Reinvent yourself
A fresh move is also a fresh start. It is therefore a great time to fulfill a dream you’ve had, whether it’s going back to school, starting a new career, or finishing that novel.

Keep pieces of your old home
To keep from getting too homesick, subscribe to your former city magazine or newspaper. Display photos of or souvenirs from your favorite places in your old town. Hang decorations from your former home. Just don’t go overboard—hanging on to too much from your past will keep you from moving forward and really enjoying your new home.

Be patient
It takes time to get to know a new place, so don’t expect to feel comfortable right away. Give yourself time to adjust. To help the process and to meet new people, find a support group near you at


Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest