One of the easiest ways is to look on the Internet. Nowadays most communities have websites that will provide you with information on that area and links to other informative sites, like real estate offices servicing that area. If the exact neighborhood or area does not have its own website, look at the county the area is in. Many counties have very extensive websites that cover even those small neighborhoods. You should be able to find information such as crime statistics, types and ratings of schools, average price of housing, and local rules for every area. Follow all links and learn all you can about the area from the Internet.
The most fun way to learn about an area is to just go there. Take a field trip to familiarize yourself with the area. Visit the stores in the area. You may want to stop in at the Chamber of Commerce office and get information about the area. You also may want to stop in at a local real estate office and see if it can provide you with listings of what is available for sale. Another great source of information is the local library. You can find information on the history of the area, the businesses in the area, local laws, and the demographic statistics. Local librarians are usually more than willing to help a newcomer learn about the area.
Of course a real estate professional can provide you with all the above information without you ever logging on or going on a field trip.