There are some major differences between big city living and quiet country lifestyles, and you only really start to notice those differences when you move from one place to the other.
Anyone who has ever grown up somewhere quiet and rural and then headed off to the city will know that it can be quite an adventure, with a lot of surprises in store each and every day.
Here are 60 things every small town person experiences when they pack their bags and try something different.
People who are born and raised in big cities walk around like it’s all so boring and natural to them, but for small town folks, strolling down a busy sidewalk with towering skyscrapers and historic monuments all around can feel just like they stepped into the movies!
In small towns, local shops and businesses often close down in the afternoon, and it can be hard to find almost anything open after 5 or 6pm. In big cities, nothing ever seems to close! Lights stay on and doors stay open non-stop, all through the night, and you never need to worry about having to rush somewhere before closing time.
If you grow up in a small town, you pretty much know the whole place like the back of your hand by the time you’re in high school. You know every street, every building, every hangout spot. But in a big city, you can live there for years and still find new things when turning down little alleys and side streets.
In small towns, most people don’t tend to worry too much about rocking the latest fashion trends or keeping up with the catwalk looks, but in big cities, you can walk down any downtown street and see model-like people all around you. It’s enough to make anyone feel a little self-conscious about their outfit.
One of the toughest things any big city dweller has to accept is that rent is always going to be a whole lot higher than it would be out in the sticks. In a small town, you can get a whole house with a yard for the same price as a tiny studio apartment in the city.
In a small town, where everybody knows everybody else, there can be a whole lot of judgment. People gossip and talk about the locals because they often don’t have much else to do, but in a big city, you could walk down the street half naked or start yelling out of your apartment window and most people would barely even raise their heads.
When you live in a small town, going to the big city can feel like quite a big event. It’s something you plan in advance, preparing the trip with your friends, thinking about what you might do with the day, like clothes shopping or seeing a movie that isn’t screening at your local theater. In big cities, everything you need is right on your doorstep.
This one isn’t universal, but in general, you’ll find that big city people tend to have different expectations and aspirations for their lives. Take education as an example. In a small town, many people are happy just to graduate college and get a job with a local business. In big cities, most young people are aiming to get to a good college and build themselves a career.
Out in the sticks, the idea of your favorite band heading to town to play a concert or a big movie star stopping by for a premier is simply ridiculous, but in big cities, it always seems like at least one famous person is in the area for some kind of event.
As soon as you move to a big city after years spent in a small town, you instantly notice just how busy people seem to be! They get mad at the slightest delay and seem to need to rush everywhere they go. It’s such a fast pace of life and you can’t help wanting to tell everybody to chill out and take it easy once in a while.
Everyone always told you that city folk are quite rude, arrogant, and obnoxious, not like all those friendly and warm small towners you’re used to, but when you get to the big city and start to notice people smiling and being polite, it’s a really nice feeling! Of course, not everyone is ready to be your best friend, but you might be surprised to see how nice people can be.
If you grew up in a rural community, the only ‘fest’ you probably ever went to was an Applefest at the local orchard. In big cities, there are major festivals and exciting events going on all the time.
With all those festivals, events, concerts, shows, movies, restaurants, stores, and more all around you in big cities, it suddenly becomes so much more important to think carefully about your budget and spend wisely.
Little towns aren’t exactly known for being the most diverse places around, but when you arrive in a big city, you might just be blown away by the vast array of people all around you. The average city street is filled with people from all walks of life, and this is a big part of what makes city-living so fun.
This one is pretty specific, but if you’ve been living out in the sticks and suddenly move to somewhere like New York, you’ll be surprised how quickly you start to pick up the accent and talk like one of the locals! You probably don’t even notice it happening until you call your parents and they don’t recognize your voice.
Let’s be honest, even if you absolutely love your new big city environment, it’s totally natural to miss your home from time to time. The lifestyle is simply so different, it’s impossible not to miss certain things or feel a little desire to wake up somewhere quiet once in a while.
Out in small towns, phones are important, just like anywhere else, but they become way more vital when you get to a big city! Suddenly, you find yourself using Google Maps to get around, Yelp to learn about the best places to eat, Uber to get to the airport, and a thousand other apps in day to day life.
Buildings in small cities tend to pretty small. There’s so much space, after all, so the whole concept of ‘building vertically’ doesn’t really apply. In big cities, however, it seems like you can’t go through a single day without spending several minutes standing around in an elevator, enduring the awkward silence with everyone else.
It’s only when you move to a big city from a small town that you start to realize just how good you had it in terms of buying things. Whether you’re buying groceries or visiting a bowling alley, prices in small towns tend to be way cheaper than the big cities.
Living in a big city is one of the most effective ways to reconnect with people from your past, including the ones you aren’t all that interested in reconnecting with! When they find out that you’re in the big city, they all suddenly start messaging you, asking to meet up, see what your place is like, and even spend the night on your sofa.
Remember when you used to wake up to the sound of birdsong or even got annoyed at one particularly noisy car driving down your street? Well, try living in the big city, where sirens, horns, shouting, and traffic are the soundtrack every single second of the day.
Small towns can often have a nice diner or two, and maybe you worry you might miss the local burgers and shakes when you move to the big city. Then you get there and see a dozen different restaurants right on your street, with hundreds more just around the corner. The choice of food for city-dwellers is simply insane!
Public restrooms are everywhere in big cities, and that can be pretty convenient. When you gotta go, you gotta go! But new arrivals in big cities quickly learn that most public bathrooms are pretty uninviting places!
As well as the dirty public bathrooms, big cities can often make you think about dirt and germs way more in general, and if you want to stay healthy and avoid catching colds and other illnesses every time you go out, you have to start taking hygiene way more seriously. Every experienced big city dweller always has a little bottle of hand sanitizer in their purse or pocket.
Out in small towns, you’re lucky to find a single clothes store, let alone one with fifteen floors and its own cafe! Shopping for clothing becomes way more fun in big cities, but it can be a little overwhelming at first as well.
In small towns, everyone tends to know everyone else. This is especially true of neighbors, who will often knock on your door to say hello, wave to you in the street, and even invite you over for barbecues now and then. In big cities, however, it’s not uncommon to never even learn your neighbors’ names!
When you grow up in a small town, you can yearn for the thrills and spills of big city life, wishing that your day-to-day routine was more exciting and easily getting bored of doing the same old things. But in a big city, you start to appreciate those little moments when you can just sit down and relax for a while because the rest of your life seems so hectic.
You can walk down the streets of big cities and hear people speaking all kinds of languages and snapping photos of the buildings and monuments all around you. While this might be normal for folks who have always lived in the city, it’s quite a culture shock for small town folks!
With so many different people all around you, it can be fun to just sit in a coffee shop and watch the world go by, admiring all the different looks and styles of everyone else and wondering what they might be doing with their lives and where they’re all rushing off to.
Small towners tend to just have one local, family grocery store. The kind of place where everybody knows your name and folks start emptying the shelves and stockpiling when they hear about a storm on the way. In the city, it’s oh so different! There are stores everywhere and so much more choice than you’ve been used to back home.
For all the positives of living in a big city, there are certainly some drawbacks! In a small town, you can step outside at any time of day, breathing in the fresh air, enjoying the peace and quiet, and maybe strolling around the neighborhood or taking your dog for a walk. In a city, the air never feels quite as fresh and all the noise can make it hard to enjoy being outdoors.
Sure, big cities often have nice parks, but it’s not quite the same as the wilderness and forests you used to walk around and explore as a kid back in your small town home.
Small town people are used to seeing the stars at night. It’s just a normal part of life for them. So it can be a little alienating to arrive in a big city, with all those neon lights and flashing signs making it impossible to ever see the stars at night.
In small towns, it’s not uncommon to hear about the cops being called because a raccoon got into someone’s garage or a local kid stole a candy bar from the store, but in big cities, crime really goes to the next level! It can be quite scary to adapt to this, especially if you’re used to a pretty peaceful existence.
It’s quite a weird feeling for small town folks to arrive in a big city and enjoy the freedom of walking around without everyone knowing their name, their life story, and all the gossip about their family! In cities, you just blend into the crowd like everyone else.
Going to a party in a small town? Sure, just take a left at the big tree and head past the diner, you can’t miss it. Going to a party in a big city? You probably need to take three different subway lines just to get near it!
Not only is it more complicated to get from one place to another, but even the simple act of getting to the other side of the street can feel like a big thing. Many small towns don’t even have crosswalk signals, so arriving in a big city and discovering that you suddenly need to pay attention when crossing the street can feel quite weird.
A bit of an issue with small town life is that you’re a little limited in terms of who you can date. In fact, it can almost reach a point where you feel like you’ve dated every viable guy or girl in town and have no other options left. In big cities, you’ll never run out of dating options until you find the perfect person.
If you grew up in a small town with its own market and nearby farms selling their fresh fruits and veggies to the locals, eating organic produce is just a regular part of day to day life for you. That’s why it can seem so strange (and a little funny) when you get to a big city and see folks acting like ordering an organic salad is some kind of trendy lifestyle choice.