Starting Fresh: Meeting People in a New City

A woman at a bar meeting people because she's new to her city.

When you move to a new city, you can expect the gamut of emotions. You’ll get lonely, you’ll seriously consider buying a one way ticket back home, but if you give yourself—and your new city—a real shot, you’ll have a chance to find new places and meet new people.

Getting Started: Do Your Research

First, scour online and local resources to find out more about your area. Subscribe to online magazines and event guides for your city. Your local newspaper (either paper or Internet) should also list upcoming events, fundraisers, and block parties. If you’re looking for more underground happenings, local coffee shops and book stores often post flyers for upcoming events and parties.

Here are a few suggestions for interesting places, based on a variety of interests:

For Foodies

If you head to a restaurant solo, ask for a seat at the bar instead of a table in the back. People tend to congregate around the bar, so you’ll have more opportunity to make friends. Also, it’s easier to start conversations when you’re within ear shot of everyone. Other cool spots for foodies include:

  • food trucks
  • cooking classes
  • tasting rooms/wine clubs (which often hold events throughout the year)
  • food festivals
  • street fairs

For Bookish Types

Whether you’re a literary fanatic or an avid learner, you can find plenty of ways to exercise your brain and meet new people. If you want to learn something new, consider:

  • book clubs
  • art galleries
  • museum events
  • TED talks/academic speeches
  • pub trivia nights

For Outdoorsy/Athletic Types

What natural wonders does your new town have in store? Joining a running club or signing up for the next 5K will help you stay fit with people who can show you better trails. Or, if you’re more of an indoors athlete, join a class. Here are a few other ideas:

  • hiking tours
  • mountain biking
  • surfing
  • marathons/races
  • ballroom dance classes
  • rock climbing

For Geeks

When the most watched show on television is about a group of sci-fi-obsessed, comic-book-loving physicists and Comic Con is one of the largest conventions in the world, you’re likely to find a fellow nerd wherever you live. If Stan Lee is your hero, or if your idea of a great time is playing Command and Conquer into the wee hours of the morning, then these activities just might be right for you (and draw out your fellow geeks, too).

  • indie movie theaters
  • LAN (local area network) parties
  • magic classes
  • online gaming forums (which tend to pair you with people in your area)
  • card games/local tabletop groups
  • comic book stores

For Music Lovers

For music lovers, nothing makes moving to a new town more exciting than checking out new venues. Enter your zip code into ticket vendor sites to find everything from upcoming hippie-style outdoor music festivals to high-brow opera houses. Other spots for music include:

  • jazz bars
  • restaurants with live entertainment
  • DJ or MC battles
  • local raves
  • jam sessions with other musicians

When you’re just starting to get your bearings, try new things. And, most importantly, accept ALL invitations; you never know. Meeting people in a new city can seem hard at first, but it’s all about putting yourself out there and seeing what happens.

Wendy Zamora

Freelance Writer

Wendy is a freelance writer and editor with years of experience covering dating and relationships.

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