Friends, I could use your help.
After more than a decade establishing some deep nerd roots in the city of Nashville, I am leaving to take a great job in the north Atlanta area. And it has opened a world of nerdy possibilities to me!
Finding a Community in a New City
Here are some things I have been doing:
- Scouting out the movie scene. I am a proud owner and user of MoviePass, which basically is a subscription service where I can go see any non-3-D movie once in the theaters, with a limit of one every 24 hours. With that power in my hands, I need to know my movie theaters and it looks like there are both a couple Regal megaplexes nearby and a solid art house place as well. I feel confident about the options and my movie nerdom will continue.
- I’ve been scoping out the comic book shops. I’m going to be in the Dunwoody area of Atlanta and there seem to be some options. Teahouse Comics seems a solid choice, as it is both well reviewed and seems to have what I would want: comics, tabletop games and back issue bins. Great Escape Comics seems like another candidate and I liked that there were easily found pictures to see what the store looked like on the inside, and, again, solid options on new and old comics and board games. And last on my list is Oxford Comics, mainly because I can remember visiting there a couple times as a kid a long time ago. (If I could give a note to any comic retailer: your website needs to be simple, giving good information. What it doesn’t need is a “Coming soon” section with things up to 3 years ago on it. It makes people think you no longer exist.)
- Every good nerd needs a used bookstore. So far in scouring Atlanta listings, it seems like Book Nook is going to be the champion, as they have several metro Atlanta locations. And they deserve a special shout-out for a great video on their Yelp page.
- Thinking about Dragon*Con. I mean, this has become one of the premier nerd gatherings in the US, not just the southeast. Knowing I can drive a couple miles, hop a MARTA train and be in the middle of the festivities really makes it tempting. The main hang-up is figuring out time away, as I have to accrue it with the new job. If nothing else, I want to head down to check out the annual parade, a Dragon*Con staples for years!
Maybe you are contemplating a move as well, or simply what to mix things up in the city you currently live. Moving to a new city can be stuff, particularly if you don’t have a strong community of friends or family there.
The above – comics shops, cons, bookstores – can be excellent places to both find familiar areas to hang out, but also places to meet new people. If meeting new people is difficult for you, then try something like meetup.com for a gaming group that looks interesting to you. If you suffer with social anxiety (here are some tips for that), then a pro tip is to scout the shop a couple days before you are scheduled to meet up with folks. That way you you won’t have anxiety about walking to a brand new place (you just scoped it days before), and it makes it easier for you to ease into meeting new people who might become your brand new gaming group.
As for me, I need your help! What other things do you think a nerd should be looking for as s/he heads to a new city? Are there Atlanta-based things that you know I should check out? What would you be doing right away as you headed into the vast new city with both time and a little bit of money?