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New City, New Experiences: 3 Tips For Exploring A New City Like A Local

Becoming independent and flourishing in our early 20s comes with a whole host of new experiences, developments, people and places. As a 21 year old young woman entering my last summer before I graduate college, my friends and I have decided to move to Boston for the summer, taking advantage of the last bit of virtual work and internships, and explore the city’s history, culture and day to day life! Living with three of my friends in a new city for a summer sounds like an absolute dream, and I am counting down the days until we arrive at our green shuttered apartment in the Fenway District. In growing up and taking my life into my own hands as I finish up undergrad and move into the real world, adult tasks come to the forefront of my mind. Tasks such as navigating a new city, planning my days accordingly and being able to flourish, and growing and traveling with ease and passion throughout a new job or career seem daunting. In this, I thought it would be helpful to make a guide of tips, tricks and things to look for when moving to a new city. Hopefully, you can use these three tips to best adapt and grow within a new setting and way of life!

 Learn the Public Transportation Routes

As college students, or freshly out of college, money is usually not of excess when it comes to constant spending on Ubers or Lyfts. That is why assessing the public transit system in the city you are in is of the utmost importance to your ease of access in a new city, as well as safety, security and financial soundness. For Boston in particular, the public transit system that is the most popular is called the “T”; the T is a subway allowing you to move about Boston quickly, easily and cost-efficiently! For a one way ride, the subway is typically $2-3, and for a month unlimited pass, it costs $90. The Boston transit system also has easily accessible buses, ferries and commuter rail lines for crossing the Charles River and getting around the city, as well as some suburbs. As a whole, it is so important to take advantage of public transportation in cities, as it acquaints you even further with the city, because it helps you understand the geography more intently and fully as you ride the subway from stop to stop and get the lay of the land!

Eat and Drink Like the Locals 

When moving to a new city, one of the most exciting things is to explore all the new bars, restaurants and dining scenes that are specifically made and designed for your city! This is why Yelp or Resy or other types of restaurant-finding apps can be incredibly useful for helping you asess which new spots you want to experience for food, coffee, drinks, appetizers or just good vibes. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try new bites, embracing the charming tastes of a new city will supply you with so many great stories and memories! Here are a few recommendations that I have stumbled upon in the Boston area: For fans of Italian food, Giulia is an especially coveted destination near Cambridge’s Porter and Harvard squares thanks to its impressive pasta and warm staff. Regina Pizzeria is one of the city’s best pizzerias in the North End! On the bar scene, Drink is an underground bar that has been firmly planted at the top of local and national cocktail enthusiasts’ must-see lists for its personal approach to mixology, and The Lookout Rooftop and Bar is a spot with unmatched views and unique house-made craft cocktails, microbrews, and wine by the glass collections. Lastly, and most importantly, if you’re a coffee enthusiast, Nine Bar offers pastries (from A&J King Bakery in Salem), bagels, muffins and even avocado toast, but the real beauty of the cafe lies in its coffee and tea. And for a picturesque stop ideal for snapping the Instagram photo you've been wanting, 3 Little Figs is perfect for a weekend morning outing.

Explore Local Activities and Events

Local publications, Facebook groups and tourist boards are an amazing insider guide to any city you find yourself in, and you should take advantage of all the opportunities that can arise from them! Exploring Facebook events and local public news spaces allows you to find so many free things to do, niche and cost-effective places to eat, and even more specifically, where to find the best wine bar or dessert spot in town! Another way to find things to experience via Facebook is to check out the “Explore”; click on “Events”, and Facebook will filter all of the events happening in the area over the next few days. You might be able to stumble upon a local party, a vibrant music festival or even an amazing food truck gathering downtown. Looking at Boston, specifically, I have joined Facebook groups and found the best spots to stop on the Freedom Trail, Harvard Square and the best places for nightlife downtown. Boston is also a college city, so with so many people my age in the area, this poses an opportunity for my friends and I to have so many new experiences with people who are in school as well, know the area and are able to show us so many new and intriguing spots!


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Moving to a new place in your 20s can feel like a jumble of emotions that you don’t quite know what to do with yet. Excitement, anxiety, joy, uncertainty and a sense of adventure may overtake you on the plane ride, drive or days leading up to your new experience. But, wherever your journey may lead you, it is important to remember that all of your experiences are what you make of them. Take the time to figure out what makes you happy and what you truly want to do and experience, because these times can shape your life to embrace new wants, needs and passions!

Katherine Pappas is a third-year Political Science and Philosophy double major from the Bay Area. During her free time she loves to go on hikes, adventures with her friends, travel the globe and find the cutest coffee shops around campus! In the future, Katherine is planning on going to law school and becoming an attorney specializing in human rights, M&A or international law.
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