When you settle into a city, the first thing you do is try to find out what you can about the surrounding areas. Most of us want to know where the nearest post office is, if there’s a mall, or where is the best place to eat.
There are probably some hidden gems that you haven’t yet discovered where you live. Here are five to check out for yourself!
1. Your Chamber of Commerce is a Great Networking Place
For many of us, the Chamber of Commerce is just a building that city officials and business people frequent. But, there are many more benefits that the rest of us can reap from the Chamber of Commerce institution.
Many cities have created Meetup groups for newcomers to learn about the city. Even if you’ve lived in your town for some years, you should join the group. Some of the things you learn might very well surprise you.
Some cities offer neighborhood tours and line up job interviews for prospective residents, and some might even pay you to move there. It might do you some good if you are a business owner to frequent these tours to find new employees.
If you aren’t a business owner but would love to find out interesting facts about your city, these free tours could show you something you didn’t know.
Plus, you’ll be able to have first dibs on newcomers as friends, or otherwise if you are single!
You should always check the Chamber of Commerce website for news, info, upcoming events, and city facts to stay abreast of happenings in your area.
2. Most Cities Offer Free Wifi
Many cities have designated areas within the city limits that offer free wifi. You don’t have to go to McDonald’s or Starbucks and deal with the crowds or spend money on food to earn your free wifi.
Some cities choose parks as free wifi spots; others offer free wifi at the local library, city hall, or other city-owned buildings.
If you are new to the area but haven’t yet hooked up your internet, or yours is on the fritz, these little wifi hotspots can be lifesavers. Granted, you won’t be able to stream movies from them, but they are great for sending documents or answering emails.
3. You Can Buy and Sell From Locals on Facebook
Most cities have a public Facebook group dedicated to the buying and selling of products for their residents. If you love to shop at thrift stores or visit yard sales, this could be addictive for you.
It’s very convenient for everyone. Whether you need to make a few extra dollars or get rid of a bulky treadmill you never use, selling is easy. If you are in the market for a new toaster or looking for a free pet, Facebook city groups are the thriftiest way to go.
Just like any other yard sale, feel free to barter with the lister to get a better deal. Most people just want to make a little extra money from their unused or unwanted goods.
These groups are like using Craigslist but more straightforward and less spam to deal with. Just be sure that you meet for the exchange in a safe public space.
4. It Has a Lot More to Offer Than You Know
You can live in a town for decades and still not know everything that it has to offer. For one thing, there are always new businesses popping up and developments taking place.
Most cities have awesome spots that few of their residents are even aware of. To find these hidden gems, you’ll need to be open to trying new things and taking unknown paths.
These lesser known areas might come in the form of small parks where you can sit peacefully to watch the birds or falling leaves.
If this is the type of place that inspires you, look for one in your own city that becomes your new place to unwind.
Sometimes the unexpected place is a whole neighborhood.
Have you ever stepped onto a street and felt instantly transported to another country?
If food is the way to your heart, you might be missing out on some delicious local foods if you don’t wander beyond your current favorite restaurants.
Maybe the hidden gem is a person! If you visit craft fairs or cafes, you might find unknown artisans that create beautiful products that you fall in love with.
Another seldom-known offering of many towns is helpful programs for the needy.
Many of these programs aren’t publicized; to deter people who don’t actually need them from taking advantage. It takes the right healthcare provider or government assistance to become aware of them.
5. Its History
Whether you live somewhere hundreds of years old or a new pop-up, getting to know your city’s history could make you appreciate it more.
To learn about your city’s history, get to the library and look at newspaper archives or just do what everyone else does — Google it.
What you find may amaze you. A famous person might have been born in your town, or an important event could have happened on the spot that it now stands.
Perhaps your town is known for a particular industry that has spread around the country. Get curious about your city and form a connection with the streets that you roam.
You could break your everyday monotony simply by understanding how your town came to be.
And now you know.
Hit the streets with fresh eyes and have fun out there!
Kelsey is from Greenville, NC, and is an East Carolina University Alum. She’s a dedicated cat mom of two and has been with Grove at Auburn since July 2019. Since moving to Alabama, Kelsey has fallen in love with Auburn and the SEC life!