How to Meet People in a New City: 8 Fresh Ideas

Man overlooking a bustling city

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Moving is a big deal. You’ll uproot your career and your social life to further your dreams, but that might mean living somewhere without your friends. Don’t worry about feeling lonely. Use these ideas to meet people in a new city, no matter your interests or location.

1. Attend a Local Festival

Cities and towns always have recurring festivals. They’re fun events that boost the local economy and allow neighbors to catch up.

Research your new city’s website to find the general events calendar. You might discover exciting things like carnivals or holiday-themed festivals happening soon. Go by yourself and chat with people doing something you enjoy. You could meet a friend while you get your face painted or stand in line at a food truck.

Music festivals are also great ways to meet people. Attendees bring chairs to relax while they listen to new and old favorite bands. It’s a tradition that began with Woodstock and continues to this day. Bring a folding chair, so you have a place to sit once you find a group of people who match your vibe.

2. Sign Up for Wine Tastings

Sign up for a local wine tasting if you enjoy the science of making wine and the intricacies that create each flavor blend. You’ll likely sit with a group of attendees and chat with them between pours. The wine can even act as your icebreaker.

It’s an easy way to meet people without pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. If you find potential friends, you could attend another tasting at the same venue. Just store away some practical hangover treatment tools in case your new friends take the party somewhere else after the tasting ends.

3. Watch a Concert Solo

Going to a concert with a friend is fun, but you don’t need to know someone to listen to a band. Buy a ticket and go by yourself. If the crowd gets to mingle during the songs, you could chat with the people in the seats around you. There’s less movement than at a music festival, but you’ll still have many people seated behind and in front of you who may love to connect.

Some music fans also create social media groups specifically for upcoming concerts. After securing your ticket, research related groups on places like Facebook or Reddit. You could find people chatting about their plans and create connections online. You’ll already know who you can meet in person before leaving for the big event.

4. Shop at a Flea Market

When you’re browsing goods at a traditional store, the employees expect you to find what you want, purchase it and leave. Mingling is supposed to happen at the food court or on the sidewalk connecting the outlet stores, but that all changes at flea markets.

Browse local flea market calendars to find one happening during your free afternoons. You’ll get to take your time scouting out deals. The table operators and shoppers will likely enjoy a conversation or two as well. It’s a more laid-back environment where it’s easier to make friends.

5. Browse Online Forums

You might think you have to meet people in a new city by attending in-person events, but that isn’t always the case. Cities always have location-specific forums and social media groups where people talk about what’s happening.

Search Reddit threads and Facebook groups for people talking about nearby venues, businesses, local events or anything else pertaining to your city. You’ll form friendships with other forum users if you frequently add your thoughts to the comments or contribute posts introducing new topics. You can always ask them to meet for coffee or attend an event with you if you sense your friendships growing.

6. Go to Networking Events

Anyone with a side hustle or small business knows the power of networking events. They’re great opportunities to meet other professionals in your industry, but they can also be places to find friends.

If you have a secondary income or your own brand, sign up for networking events with opportunities like free lunch. Everyone can relax together when they get hungry, which is when you can introduce yourself and form friendships.

7. Volunteer for Something New

Consider which causes you love. If you’ve spent time volunteering with food banks or animal shelters in the past, that could be a great way to meet people in a new city. You could also push your self-growth by volunteering for a new cause.

Experts estimate that the number of nationwide volunteers dropped 7% between 2019 and 2021, so people are more in need of help than before. Look into causes that might get less attention than traditional forms of volunteering. You could make a more significant impact by giving your time and efforts to places like:

  • Community centers
  • Local parks
  • Homeless shelters
  • Hospitals
  • Organizations that build homes

People who need help in your new community may rely more on some resources than others. Disaster relief groups will be more active in actively affected hurricane zones than volunteer groups picking up trash downtown. It all depends on what’s happening in your city and where residents need help most.

8. Workout With a Class

Anyone can press play on a workout video at home. It might fit your schedule better sometimes, but you could use your exercise routine to meet people.

Reflect on your favorite types of workouts or if you’d like to try something new. A local business could offer recurring classes where you dance or stretch with other participants. You’ll gain opportunities to interact with people you might not otherwise meet. 

It’s worth noting that intense exercise classes aren’t the best places for conversations. However, you can make small talk between reps and chat with others while you’re waiting for class to start. Some people may even be open to walking to the nearest coffee shop for a healthy snack and the opportunity to connect with you more.

Meet People in Your New City

There are tons of ways you can meet people in a new city. Use these ideas to get started. Depending on the situation, your interests will guide you to like-minded people and even act as icebreakers. You won’t be lonely for long once you start using these strategies to make friends.

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