Smaller cities like Grand Rapids, Mich. don’t get much attention on a national level, but Chuck Otto, who writes for Next Avenue, says people looking to relocate should consider moving to a smaller city for a myriad of reasons.

They appeal to anyone fed up with traffic tie-ups, two-hour restaurant waits and the sheer crush of humanity of life in or near a big city but with an aversion to distant, charm-free exurbs or going full-on Green Acres and disappearing into deep country.

But before making the move, Otto has a few suggestions, that include doing your homework by visiting the area and talking to residents, and mentally preparing for the adjustment your about to make.

Otto moved from just outside Chicago to Grand Rapids and experienced some culture shock. West Michigan is considerably more conservative and less racially diverse than I’d prefer. Most of the locals are less obsessed with fitness and fashion than my old Evanston (Ill.) crowd, so cigarettes and camo-wear are more in evidence.

To read the rest of Otto’s suggestions, click below.

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