Recent college grads: Most of you are going to be relocating soon, if you haven’t already, and you’re about to have to embrace an entirely new locale. Sure, you can bring the comforts of home into your new apartment, but you have to leave sometime (I know. It’s lame). Make sure you find these places early on in your new life there—it’ll make things a lot easier for you in the long run!
1. A good local bar.
You’re going to have some pretty bad days at the office, which might make you want to gather your co-workers or friends for a beverage after. You’re also going to have some pretty good days, at which point you’ll want to raise a glass in celebration. Either way, you need to find a place to unwind with a cold drink. Pro tip: Find one that is spacious, with lots of seating and a long bar. Bonus points if it has a patio for those nice days.
2. A place that serves your favorite food takeout (and is open till a reasonable hour).
I made the mistake of finding a great burger and chicken finger place just a steps from my new apartment, only to discover late one night that it closed at 3 p.m. Literally, 3 p.m., every day. Thankfully there is Chinese food down the street, plus a couple of pizza places, otherwise I’d be SOL. Pro tip: Try Grubhub or Doorstop Delivery if you live in a suburb.
3. The mall.
I know, I know. I tweeted once that “I feel like malls are just the places rich people keep their stuff until they have the time and energy to buy it.” I’m not a huge fan. But sometimes, there are things you need that are only available in malls. Like that vanilla soap from Bath & Body Works! Or your favorite VS undies. Sure, you could order online, but who wants to pay for shipping? Pro tip: If you live in a larger area, there are probably both outdoor and indoor malls. Find both so you have somewhere to go no matter what the weather.
4. The closest post office.
Nobody wants to go to a post office (ever), but sometimes you have to. They’re usually only open during business hours, so you don’t want to waste time on your lunch break Googling where the post office is. Pro tip: Avoid them when you can. You can buy stamps at CVS, Walgreens, Publix, etc.
5. The pharmacy of your choice.
Seriously—you’re going to be in the doc-in-the-box one day and you’re not going to know where to tell them to send that scrip for your sinus infection. Figure it out beforehand and you’ll feel better sooner. Pro tip: Lots of pharmacies do text notifications now to let you know when your prescription is ready for pickup. Pick one that offers this feature!
6. A place where you can buy essentials on the fly.
What this boils down to is you need to find the place closest to your apartment that sells contact solution. Bonus points if it’s open late! Pro tip: Don’t hate on Walmart Neighborhood Markets. They’ve got groceries and toiletry items!
7. Nearby outdoor activities.
Where are the nearby hiking or biking trails? Where is the closest farmer’s market? Is there a lake with a beach? You’ll wish you’d known about these things in advance when you wake up on a beautiful spring or fall day and realize you’d like to spend a couple of hours getting some fresh air. Pro tip: Places like botanical gardens often host free or discount events. If your new city has one, follow them on social media to stay updated.