Don’t let the cold weather or the social-distancing keep you from exploring the ‘burbs. Here’s how to get the inside scoop…
We get it — between the chilly weather (in some of our markets…) and the social distancing, exploring suburbia isn’t the same as it was a year ago. But that’s OK! Like the city, the ‘burbs topping your list are no doubt packed with fun, family-friendly things to do — ways to experience the community like a local so you can get a sense of what weekends could look like in a new community.
Some of our favorite ways to get out and explore right now?
#1. Grab a bite (yes, outside…)
If you’re exploring in one of our warmer-weather markets (we’re looking at you, South Florida and Texas…), then grabbing a bite outside is a no-brainer — find a restaurant with outdoor seating and take in the sights and sounds. Want something a little more casual? Snag a sandwich or other grab-and-go meal, then find a park, playground, or beach where you and your crew can hunker down, dig in, and people watch.
If you’re in a cold area this can be a little trickier — but suburban restaurants are getting creative. We’ve spotted outdoor heaters, heat lamps, single-family “igloos,” tents, and even outdoor fireplaces and firepits at formerly indoor-only restaurants. Pair those outdoor tables with QR-code enabled menus and spaced out seating and you can no doubt find a spot to have a bite while getting a sense for the local landscape — and popular eats.
#2. Take a stroll
No matter where you’re exploring there are likely plenty of preferred walking routes you and your family can hit up. For some communities, that means a bustling downtown where you can walk around, window shop, grab a latte, and see what’s what. For other communities, those walks weave through nature trails, beach paths, or through parks and preserves. Regardless, though, walks are a great opportunity to burn off some energy while starting to envision how you could spend weekends post-move.
#3. Hit up a farmers market
Farmers’ markets epitomize the local experience — because there are so many in the ‘burbs, people tend to stick with what’s close, making these markets great go-to’s when you’re learning the landscape (and — bonus — you’ll head home with amazing local goodies…).
Ask your Strategist or Suburban Jungle agent for a recommendation of where locals really pick up produce, then check it out. Often markets are in town, but you may find residents head to an adjacent community for the best local goods. While you’re there, chat with shoppers and sellers, check out the CSA landscape, and get a feel for the community…and which vendors you need to hit up first during your weekend farmers market runs.
#4. Go to the playground
Warm or cold, families will always make time for their local playgrounds. On a weekend or after school, make it a point to check out at least two to three. If your kids have been cooped up in the car, they’ll be thrilled to get out — and with your crew happily hanging with fellow park-goers you’ll have a natural reason to start a conversation with other parents…and you should!
Ask about the schools, get their take on the commute, see how people really spend weekends and get a feel for what life’s like from a fellow parent’s POV. That’s key — and that will give you a lay of the land you can’t get from a quick drive-by visit.
#5. Or grab your pup…
If you’ve got a four-legged family member, the same playground rules apply. Ask your Strategist or Suburban Jungle agent for the scoop on local dog runs then pack up your pup and go. While your dog plays with his new furry friends, slide into conversation with other puppy parents. Find out how often they hit the dog run and see if there are any good dog walkers or doggy daycares in town. Inquire about spots where dogs can be off-leash — or dog-friendly hiking and walking trails. People love their pets — and they love to share. It’s a perfect combination when you’re exploring a new town.
#6. Chat with local insiders
Besides your Strategist and Suburban Jungle agent, our clients have access to locals and insiders in every town in every one of our markets. These moms, dads, and, often, urban-to-suburban transplants are standing by to give you the scoop — to answer your questions, share their experiences, and talk through the ins and outs of their town. Grab a coffee, hop on Zoom, Facetime while you’re strolling through downtown — it’s up to you. But getting in touch with a town local will help you get the one-on-one scoop on what’s really happening at the schools, the parks, the soccer fields, and more.
#7. Keep visiting!
If you like a town, don’t make your visit a one-and-done — keep coming back! The best way to tell if a suburb is the right fit is by exploring on different days, times and, if you have the flexibility, different seasons. Make it a point to check out tons of parks on one visit and, on another, to bike through multiple neighborhoods — or to see how many goodies you can try at the local farmers market then explore downtown and see what’s what.
By getting a more in-depth lay of the land, you’ll quickly determine which town syncs with your wants, needs, and goals — and, ultimately, where you want to call “home.”
Start — or continue — exploring suburbia. Get in touch now to schedule your FREE Suburbs Strategy session.