Moving From The Suburbs To The City

residential road with homes and buildings and a map pinpoint to show a destination - Mayflower®

Moving from the suburbs to the city is a decision that many people make each year and reasons for making the move vary. 

For example, young 20-somethings fresh out of college may move to the city for nightlife. Established professionals may move to the city to be closer to their jobs. Empty nesters may move to the city seeking  downsized living options.

Whatever your reason for wanting to leave suburbia behind, the trusted movers at Mayflower are here to help you decide if moving to the city from the suburbs is right for you. 

Why People Move To The City From the Suburbs

Living in the city is an entirely different way of life compared to the suburbs. City life is ripe with opportunity and options for residents of all ages with easy access to transportation, jobs, nightlife, dining and activities that are not as accessible in suburban neighborhoods.

Some of the most common reasons people choose the city lifestyle include:

Moving To The City May Mean Living Closer To Work

Commuting is the bane of existence for many who live in the suburbs and exurbs surrounding major cities. While not every job is located within city centers and there are certainly plenty of opportunities for commerce outside of city limits, many corporate headquarters are still located in major US cities.

By having a shorter commute, city residents retain additional time each day to utilize for hobbies and other activities rather than travel.

For some, the time spent traveling to and from work can be better spent at the gym, preparing dinner, reading a book, or just getting more sleep. This reallocation of commute time can result in reduced stress and increased happiness among city residents. 

Being Closer To Entertainment

One element enjoyed by city residents is that there is never a dull moment.

By living in a major city, residents expect easy access to popular nightlife spots, restaurants, markets, museums, theaters, sporting events and more. City residents may find that a number of these attractions are within walking distance, further increasing the accessibility.

Becoming More Cultured

City life brings together people from all ethnicities and cultures, with many choosing to share their culture with the rest of the community.

It can be easy to find authentic foods, specialized shops and people who share similar values within the diverse city communities. People who move from the suburbs to the city are able to branch out to try new things including exploring new cultures and ways of life.

Walkable Neighborhoods

Walkable neighborhoods are an important factor mentioned by many residents who migrate to the city from the suburbs. Along with having easy access to resources and activities, walkability allows for more daily interactions with neighbors, increasing the sense of community within the city.

Living in a walkable neighborhood may also allow residents to navigate the city without owning a car. This can increase personal fitness while decreasing expenses and helping the environment.

Things To Consider When Moving To The City

Moving to the city may seem like a no-brainer, especially for those who are eager to get out and explore new things. However, it is important to understand that living in the big city is different from visiting.

Before moving to the city from the suburbs, prospective urbanites should be comfortable with the following:

Space Is At A Premium

Cities are much more consolidated per square foot than their suburban counterparts. The average size of an apartment in Manhattan, is 747 square feet, roughly 1,000-square feet smaller than a similarly priced house in the New Jersey suburbs.
Even renters in suburban communities enjoy more square footage on average than individuals living in the city. Yards and personal outdoor space are valuable commodities in the city. Residents in the city trade private outdoor spaces for public parks and community centers. For those who value personal space and isolation the city may not be a good fit.

Lack of Parking

Suburban residents are used to accessible parking in large, open lots at the grocery store, on the street or in their personal driveways. This availability of affordable parking options shrinks considerably when moving from the suburbs to the city.

  • City residents must be prepared to pay for parking via meters or parking garages at all times. 
  • Due to the need to park in garages or dedicated lots, available parking is not always near a specific destination.
  • In some cities, it is rare for even residents to get away with free parking. For example, in New York, NY, unreserved parking spaces can cost over $600 per month.

Higher Car Insurance Premiums

City residents who retain a vehicle often end up paying more for car insurance than those who live in the suburbs despite driving fewer miles. In Detroit, MI, the average cost of car insurance for a year is $6,280 – compared to the statewide average of $3,096 for Michigan.

A variety of factors determine car insurance costs by location. Statistically, cities have higher populations and thus more cars on the road which increases the level of risk to the insurer. The risk of vandalism or theft is also higher as cities have higher rates of crime than their suburban counterparts.

City residents can offset this cost to a degree by maintaining good driving habits and parking in secure lots when possible.


Sharing space in close proximity to others increases the likelihood of ambient city noise becoming too much for some to handle on a regular basis. When moving to the city from the suburbs, there are several new types of noise to consider including: increased vehicle traffic, higher rates of emergency vehicles and noise from shared walls within residential complexes.

Before making a move, it is important to consider whether the sound of a baby crying next door or a neighbor practicing a musical instrument in the middle of the night will be a deal-breaker.

Higher Rates of Crime

While the vast majority of residents are statistically unlikely to become victims of violent crimes, there may be higher crime rates in some urban cores compared to nearby suburbs.

While this can frighten some potential residents, it is important to remember that there are trade-offs compared to living in the suburbs. Suburban residents may experience higher rates of theft and property damage than their city counterparts.

What To Do Before Moving To The City

For residents who decided to follow the bright lights and make the big move, city life is exciting, and never presents a dull moment. Before packing and hitting the road, there are a few things that potential residents need to know.

Understand Cost of Living Differences

Just like car insurance, some things just cost more in the city. For example, a $4 drink from a suburban bar and grill may be $12 at an upscale bar in the city. Menu prices may not be the only difference. Some municipalities charge additional sales taxes that could make a night out more expensive than expected.

Understand The Value Of Square Footage

Whether buying or renting, city residents receive fewer square feet of living space compared to suburban homes or apartments.

When moving to the city from the suburbs, it is necessary for movers to increase their budgets to acquire the same amount of space. This may mean downsizing or sacrificing a spare bedroom or basement in order to make the move affordable.

In addition to paying a premium for living space, prospective city residents will incur additional costs such as HOA fees and parking costs. All of these factors must be considered as part of the budget when selecting a new home in the city.

If Downsizing, Get Rid of Unnecessary Stuff

In order to make city living affordable, many who move from the suburbs to the city find that downsizing is the simplest answer. Downsizing should be completed prior to the move and may include eliminating large pieces of furniture. There are many options for reducing unnecessary items which still retain value:

  • Offer items to friends and family
  • Host a moving sale
  • Utilize Facebook Marketplace and neighborhood groups to post listings
  • Move valued items to a long-term storage facility

Discover The Neighborhood

In cities with large public transportation systems (the Subway in New York, for instance) it is easy to get lost and look like a tourist. The best way to learn public transportation is to utilize it. Prospective city residents can gain additional information regarding routes, stops and costs from the Department of Transportation in their new location.

Contact Mayflower Moving Company

Mayflower can help make your city dreams a reality, with full-service moving options. Our trusted movers are available in all 50-states, so no matter which city you plan to call home, you can trust Mayflower to get you and your stuff there safely.

Let’s Get Moving

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