Big cities are filled with opportunities. Here’s everything you need to know to help you adjust after moving to a big city from a small town.


Moving to a big city can be an incredibly exciting and rewarding experience. Whether you’re moving for a new job or just for a much needed fresh start, big cities are filled with endless opportunities.

But what if you’re moving to a big city after living in a small town for the majority of your life? Especially if you’re relocating by yourself, it can be difficult to adjust to the hustle and bustle of big city life. But don’t get discouraged! Here’s everything you need to know about how to make the most of your move to the city: 

Is moving to a big city a good idea?

Many people who grew up in small towns are excited to live the big city life. Maybe you’re moving to your nearest local metro area or to a mecca like NYC, Miami, Toronto, or Los Angeles. Either way, you’ll have to make adjustments to your lifestyle when moving from your small town to a big city. 

When considering if moving to a big city is right for you, it’s a good idea to really think about what you want. Do you enjoy meeting new people and engaging in new experiences? Are you looking for a wider range of job opportunities or a more walkable neighborhood? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, moving to a big city from your small town may be a good idea for you, but it’s also important to consider other factors like an increased cost of living, less indoor and outdoor space, and maybe even the possibility that you’ll get homesick from on occasion. Take the time to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of moving to a big city before deciding what’s right for you and your family. 

How to Find Housing When Moving to a Big City

Once you’ve decided to make the move, it’s time to secure a place to live. In larger cities like New York City, there are tons of housing options to choose from depending on your unique needs and budget. This includes houses, apartments, condos, studio apartments, and even sublets. 

Getting ahead on your apartment or house hunt before you arrive will help alleviate stress during the moving process. Figure out what neighborhoods are the best fit for you based on your needs, and search online for apartments in the area. 

If you can visit the city you’ll be moving to for an extended period of time to tour new places to live, even better! Walking around in the neighborhood you’d like to live in is a great way to find apartments that are available to rent right away. 

Related: 9 Tips to Help Make Moving in Winter Months Less Annoying

Moving to a Big City: How to Get Used to Your New Home

So you’ve officially moved to a new city: Congratulations! After the whirlwind of moving, unpacking, and organizing your new space, it’s time to settle into your new routine in the city. Here are some tips to help you ease into this new chapter of your life: 

Calculate your cost of living

One of the biggest factors to consider when making the move to a city or metro area is an increased cost of living. If you work remotely, does your employer offer salary adjustments based on the cost of living at your new location? If not, how do you plan on paying for your new place? 

Taking a serious look at your budget will help you move to a big city more smoothly. If you need to cut back on your spending, consider selling your car, finding a roommate, or even starting a side hustle for some extra cash.

Invite your friends and family

Once you’re settled in, inviting your crew from back home can be a great way to celebrate and explore your new city. After all, playing tour guide in your new city can help you feel more confident about your surroundings! A few fun activities to consider while your friends and family are in town could be: 

  • Grabbing coffee at your local cafe
  • Checking out your neighborhood’s food & restaurant scene
  • Visiting museums or other cultural landmarks
  • Buying tickets for a concert or sporting event
  • Taking a walk through your neighborhood park
  • And more!

Try to make new friends

If you’ve decided to move to a big city alone, it can be tough to adjust to your new life without a built-in support system. And if you’ve got a busy work or school schedule, it can be tough to find time to make new friends and build new relationships. 

The good news? Living in a big city means there are tons of people and ample opportunities to make new friends. You might have the best luck making friends at work, in your classes at school, at co-working spaces, or in the gym. 

Searching online for a club that practices hobbies you’re interested in is another great way to find like-minded people. From snowboarding and hiking groups to improv comedy troupes and book clubs, you may be surprised to find that there’s a club out there for you. 

Learn how to have fun alone

As fun as it is to move to a big city and make new friends, it’s important to take the time to focus on yourself, too. Take a day or multiple days to “get lost on purpose” and play tourist in your new city. This can be a fun and adventurous way to learn your way around! 

moving to a big city alone

While you’re out there, find your own favorite “spot.” In cities like NYC, it can be hard to find a private spot, but there are certain nooks and crannies of Central Park, little cafes, and smaller parks where you can find a place to be with yourself.

Moving to a Big City Can Help Shake Things Up

If you’re looking for a lifestyle change, want to start a new job or change careers, or just love connecting with new people, moving to a big city may be right for you. Check out our city guides to learn more about moving to big cities like Los Angeles, Miami, Las Vegas, Seattle, Austin, Nashville, and more.

About the Authors

Emily Malkowski

Emily Malkowski is a writer and SEO strategist with over 5 years experience, living in Buffalo, New York. Having graduated from University at Buffalo with a Bachelor's degree in Communications, her work has appeared in outlets like The American Prospect, Roadtrippers Magazine, Step Out Buffalo, and more.

Marie Rachelle

Marie Rachelle is a local entrepreneur, marketing consultant, and writer based in Buffalo, NY. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Bryant & Stratton College, and has been writing professionally for nearly a decade. Her work can be found and followed in Buffalo Home Magazine, Step Out Buffalo Business, Freelancer's Union, Freelancing Females, and more.

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