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The Guide to Getting to Know Your Neighborhood Online

Understand your community with these helpful groups and apps.

You’ve finally moved into your new place. Welcome to the neighborhood! Now that you’re settled in, there’s a lot you probably want to see, visit, and explore. You already know the basics: introduce yourself to your neighbors, say hi to the mail courier, and drive around town to find local hidden treasures. However, your neighborhood is more than meets the eye. Here are a few ways to get to familiarize with your surroundings using apps, maps, and online groups.

Crime Maps

This is not the most pleasant topic, and that’s why we’re getting it out of the way first. Whether you have a child or are just curious about the crime levels in your new neighborhood, crime maps are an efficient way to understand what’s happening in your area. The Lexis Nexis Community Crime Map lets you type in your address and view crimes in your area based on type and when they occurred. If you are curious about sex offenders in your area, you can also check the official FBI page for a list of sex offender databases.

AllTrails App

If you’re a fan of the outdoors, this app is perfect for you. The AllTrails mobile app lets you find hiking, biking, and running trails nearby based on your location. You can filter local trails based on difficult level, past users’ ratings, whether they’re dog or kid friendly, and more. With access to over 100,000 trail maps, the app includes detailed maps of trails in your neighborhood and surrounding area so you can stay active and adventurous.


Nextdoor is like Facebook for neighbors. Here, you can chat with people in your community about things pertaining to the neighborhood including: yard sales, local events, things to look out for, lost pets, alerts, and other relevant discussions. You can also buy, sell, donate, or trade goods as well as advertise your business and give local recommendations.

Buy Nothing Project

The Buy Nothing Project is a hyper-local “gifting economy,” generally in the form of a Facebook group. Only people in your neighborhood can join the group, and no money is ever involved. In the group, members offer items or acts of service to their neighbors for free without any expectations of payment or trade. By giving freely, the group builds community while also keeping items out of the landfill. You can find your local Buy Nothing group here.

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Raquel Guarino

Raquel Guarino is a writer for Realty.com and Help.com. She currently lives in Austin, Texas.

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