Moving to a New City Alone

Moving to a New City Alone

city scape of moving to a new city alone

For people moving in their 20s, or even in their 30s, moving alone to a big city might feel pretty overwhelming. You might feel like this giant metropolis is moving too fast for you, buzzing at a rapid pace with no stop in sight, as millions of people drive, walk, and bike past one another in random succession. At times, it feels like the sheer size and volume of a city can swallow you whole. But the great thing about any big city is the infinite amount of things to find and do. Places to meet new people. Places to eat fabulous food. And everything in between. If you take a chance and see what your new home has to offer, it could be the start of an amazing chapter in your life. Here are some tips for moving alone to a new city!

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The moving process

This might be the most valuable tip for moving to a city alone. If you don’t have people close by who can help you move to your new home, it might be wise to hire a moving company. They will provide the extra support and care to get your furniture and items safely to your new home.

Movers are especially helpful with city moves as many urban apartment complexes have more stories and less space to work with than suburban complexes. Moving all your stuff alone would not only take up a lot of your time, but it would be physically demanding as well. Of course, if you have furniture, you will almost definitely need at least one other person to help you move, simply because it is unsafe to move such heavy items all by yourself. If you’re near one of the areas Unimovers operates in, check out this link to see their moving rates.

If you have family and friends that can help, reach out to them. If not, hire movers. You’ll thank yourself later.

Things to do in a big city

Congratulations. The hard part is done: you have fully moved into your new home. Now comes the easy part.

There are millions of things to do in a big city. It would probably take years to eat at every restaurant, drink at every bar, and dance at every club the city has to offer. Each place offers an opportunity to meet someone new, someone who might end up being a great friend. I also understand that places like these can bring more anxiety than joy to some people, and not everyone will enjoy a night out at a club for more than a few hours at a cozy restaurant. Living in a city doesn’t mean you have to change your personality; people moving alone in their 20s might have a different lifestyle than people in their 30s, and luckily, cities have options for everyone.

Bars and clubs

This is probably one of the best ways for new people to socialize with others in a large urban environment. It takes the chaos of the outside world and compacts it into one tightly frenzied space. For people in their 20s who are moving to the city alone, this might sound like paradise. For introverts like me, that description can sound almost scary– we aren’t big fans of loud, clustered spots—but if you give a bar a chance, you might find someone who could help make this city feel a little less isolating.

If you aren’t really into the whole club vibe, there are still countless bars with a more relaxed environment. This might not be for everybody. If you’re moving alone in your 30s, you might have left the club scene behind and are expecting a less chaotic city life. For those who don’t like liquor or dancing, or just don’t enjoy being in such a social atmosphere, a bar or club might be the exact opposite of what you’re looking for.

If you are at a bar or club, remember to stay safe. Yes, it’s a good opportunity to meet nice people, but it’s also an opportunity to meet not-so-nice people. Never leave your drink unattended. And if you’re going out with friends, stay close to them. Have fun. Be safe.

Local Online Groups

Websites like Reddit, Facebook, and Discord allow local people to create and foster large groups who share a common interest. Like baseball? There’s a group for that. Like Seinfeld? There’s a group for that. Like beanie babies? There’s a group for that.

There’s a group for everything and everyone. And because so many groups are located within the confines of your city, it not only allows for the opportunity to engage with others in an online space, but it also allows for public meet-ups.

Dating Apps

After you move, living in a big city alone can often feel like being a small fish in a giant ocean. There are so many people that it’s almost overwhelming, and sometimes that can lead to greater feelings of loneliness. But a great plus with big cities is the variety of people you can meet. There, quite literally, is someone for everyone. And with dating apps, it can be much easier to find a special someone to make city life all the more exciting.

If you’ve lived in a small town, you know that dating apps don’t really work. When you go on Hinge or Tinder, a quarter of the people on there are old high school classmates, while the rest are mutual acquaintances. But in big cities, dating apps are filled with an infinite amount of people, a giant sea of possible companions, all of which have the potential to be a wonderful partner. Mathematically speaking, you have far greater odds of finding someone perfectly compatible with you when living in a city, just by the humongous sample size dating apps have to offer.

Download an app. See if you find anyone who catches your eye. If you don’t, that’s fine; there are tons of other ways to find the one.

Safety Tips

This is the part of the article where I become a mom.

Now listen here. Big cities are exciting. But they’re also more dangerous. With so many people lining the streets, odds are there are a couple bad eggs that could make city life not so fun. Here are the facts: one, there are more crimes in urban areas than in suburban areas. Two, because there are more crimes, it is more likely that you could become a victim of a crime. Three, I don’t want you to become a victim of a crime. So, before we go back to the fun parts of city life, I think it’s necessary to give the classic safety tip guide for moving alone.

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Remember how I said dating apps are great? That is 99% true. You’ll simply need to give caution to the 1% of dates that could go sour. So, when you go out on a date with someone you don’t really know (or even someone you do know), have it at a public place, somewhere with people. If they want to go on a walk in the park, politely decline. If they want to meet at their place, politely decline. If they want to go to the middle of the desert where there’s not a single person for hundreds of miles, disrespectfully decline, then never talk to that person again.

Stay in public environments until you feel completely comfortable with the person you’re seeing. They could be a great person. In fact, they probably are. But remember the 1% of people who are not as good a person as they seem. I’m not saying to be paranoid with every new person you meet. I’m saying to veer on the side of caution, especially in the early stages.

Have things to protect yourself

It is amazing how painful pepper spray and mace are. It is also amazing how owning pepper spray or mace could literally be the difference between life and death. Yes, that’s a little dramatic, but hey, things can get crazy fast in a big city. It is crucial to have something to protect yourself when walking alone down a street, or even if you’re living alone in an apartment. Pepper spray is very cheap. You can find one very easily on Amazon, selling for no more than $15.

For home protection, for the love of God, make sure you have working locks not only for your doors but for your windows as well. What are the chances of some crazed person breaking into your apartment? Low. Very low. Extremely low. But it’s always good to be prepared.  


Moving to a big city alone sounds pretty daunting but if you keep some of these tips in mind, you’ll have a much better time. Maybe you’re in your 20s and moving alone to the big city to start a new career, or maybe you’re in your 30s and starting your move up the ladder. You are here for a reason. Etch your space in this big world and make something of yourself. Do what you want to do. Embrace your new home, your new life.

Alex Mumm is a fourth-year Creative Writing student at the University of Iowa. As a former professional mover, Alex offers the insight and advice to help you with your own move.