When you move to a new home, you not only get to discover your new property but you get to discover the entire neighborhood surrounding it. Whether you live in a bustling city or in a small country town, your new neighborhood has unique sights to see and things for you to discover. Starting to explore your new neighborhood, however, can be a bit intimidating. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can get to know your new neighborhood and start to feel more at home in your new community.

How to Get to Know Your New Neighborhood When You Move

Introduce Yourself to the Neighbors

The people who live near you define your community, so meeting them is a major step in feeling more comfortable in your neighborhood. By introducing yourself to your neighbors, you also get a chance to ask questions about your new area and discover valuable information about it. They might know where the best coffee shop is or which of the neighbors throw the best summer BBQs, both bits of information that can make your experience in your new community that much better.

Although many people recognize the importance of introducing themselves to the neighbors, they often get stuck on how to do it. Going door-to-door can feel a bit too much like you’re a salesman and hosting a get-together at your house before you’ve met everyone can lead to major awkwardness. One of the easiest ways to meet your neighbors is to simply be kind when you come across them. Smile and say “hello” and then ask a couple of engaging but light questions, such as how long they’ve lived in the neighborhood or what kind of flowers they have in their garden. Eventually, you’ll build a rapport with your neighbors and may even form friendships with those that you get along with. It may seem intimidating to dive in like this, but over 40 million people move every year in the United States and need to introduce themselves to their neighborhoods. If those millions of people can do it, so can you.

Shop and Dine Locally

Most neighborhoods have a combination of chain stores and restaurants and local establishments. While it may be comforting to visit chains that you’ve shopped or dined at before, you won’t get to learn much about your new community there. Instead, try frequenting local businesses in your neighborhood. Local shops and restaurants are what bring a community together and they’ll give you a great picture of what the community’s story is.

You can find stores and restaurants in your area by looking online or simply walking around your neighborhood. The diner around the corner could be your go-to coffee spot or there might be a restaurant down the street that’s perfect for date nights. As the average American eats out an average of three times each week, you can easily go to these local restaurants while still visiting chains for your favorite familiars. By incorporating local establishments into your regular routines, you’ll be economically supporting your neighborhood and engaging with the people in it.

Ask for Recommendations

There are a lot of things you’re going to have to learn about in your new community. Whether you’re among the one-third of people in the U.S. who are unhappy with their teeth and are looking for the right dentist or your child loves sports and you want to learn about the best soccer camp in the area, the people in your community are going to be your top resource for recommendations. Ask your neighbors or coworkers, if your job is local, for recommendations on various services and stores. While you could look up recommendations online, this won’t give you the opportunity to connect with the people around you.

Throw a Housewarming Party

Hosting a party for your neighbors may not be an appealing thing to do when you first move in, but it can be a great way to get to know your community better once you’ve met them. Take your time after moving to finish unpacking your house, get settled, and introduce yourself to your neighbors. Once you feel like you and your home are ready, send out some invitations to your neighbors for a housewarming party. Try to keep the party relatively simple. Your neighbors won’t be expecting an elaborate shindig and you certainly won’t want to throw one. You could even ask your guests to help out by bringing chairs or snacks, making it feel more like a community get-together than a party celebrating your arrival. When all’s said and done, you will feel a little more comfortable with your neighbors and might even have made a few new friends in the process.

You’ll probably have a long list of tasks to do when you first move into a new home but don’t make the mistake of procrastinating getting to know your neighborhood in favor of unpacking more boxes. Putting off this important step of moving will only make it seem more intimidating, even though it should be enjoyable. Put some of these tips to use and you’ll soon feel comfy and content in your new community.