As I've mentioned a few times, I'm looking at Bloomington, IN, as a place to live. I'm going to spend a week there in June to get an overall feel for the place. I'll drive around various neighborhoods, walk the campus Indiana University, and test out the independent coffee shops. As a bonus I'll go visit a great uncle (great in both senses of the phrase) over in Illinois. If this trip is successful, in that I really like the town, I'll spend another week there in October and again in February. I'll try to time the October trip to match up with a local festival. The February trip will be to see how bad the winters tend to be. Each time, I'll pick up the local newspapers and real estate guides.
I'm thinking of couch surfing while I'm there. This means that I'll go onto couchsurfing.org and find people's couches to sleep on. Turns out there are 96 people registered on the site in Bloomington. I would save $400-500 easy. Don't know if I'll go through with it, but it's a possibility.
Overall, this is a series of fact finding missions. While I can find many facts online, I want to get a feel for the place. What questions would you try to answer if you were scoping out a new place to live?