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RANKED: 27 Best Ways to Make Friends in Your New City

Wondering how to make friends in a new city? You’re not alone. Depending on your personality, interacting with people in a new city can be exciting or intimidating. About one in ten adults moved to a new city for reasons related to the pandemic in November 2020. (1) 

With this much migration, you can expect an overhaul in people’s social lives, with up to 70 percent of young adults feeling lonely. (2)

But not to worry, we’ll show you the best ways to overcome this hurdle and make friends easily in your new city. Even before you get there.

Let’s get started.

Ask Friends to Introduce You to Their Friends

1. Ask Old Friends to Introduce You to Their Friends

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Take advantage of old social groups. Since these groups include friends and friends-of-friends, you can have a vast, albeit untapped, network to fall back to. If your friends don’t live in the new city, they might have friends or family that they can introduce you to in the city — so ask your friends to make an introduction if they know someone in your new city.

Facebook and Twitter are other places to ask for recommendations. Let your friends know you’re planning to move soon, and have them whip up recommendations for you in your new city. It might surprise you to find they’re close by. Using your friends’ network of friends is how to meet new people in a new city by using your old connections.

2. Join Local Meetup Groups in Your New City

Meetup.com is one way to find people with similar interests in your location. It’s also a good place to start initiating relationships by joining meetup groups in your new city even before leaving town.

The app matches you with other people based on shared interests, making it even easier to acquaint yourself with a new pal. So whether you’ve just arrived or planning to move to the city, Meetup.com can help you find friends faster.

3. Use Local Convenience Stores

Image Credit: Alwyn Ladell

When you get to a new city, resist the urge to buy the bulk of your stuff online. Instead, take a stroll to the local convenience stores or patronize local businesses to stock up on groceries.

Shopping at local stores is how to make friends in a new city without having to schedule a special time for meeting people. You’d buy things anyway, so why not turn that into a social experience?

In addition to buying things, you’ll also get an insider view of how people in your new community operate. You’d also stand a better chance at landing yourself a shopping buddy.

If it’s daunting to stroll into a local store casually, write a greeting and meeting script to help you initiate a conversation. Also, if you love to read, someone at the local bookstore may have handy information on book clubs you can join. 

Perhaps, you have a dog or a cat? Then a pet store is excellent for inquiring about the closest vet hospital or the best parks to walk your dog.

4. Do Community Work 

Image Credit: Anna Earl via Unsplash

You might not know this, but volunteering improves your health, according to a study published on Science Daily (3). The act of volunteering in itself lowers anxiety, depression, and strengthens your body.

By sharing your time and giving back to society, you meet others who share your values. Get started by seeking a worthy cause and identifying volunteer opportunities in your areas of interest.

4. Hit the Gym

Image Credit: Paul Kagame

Hitting the gym is a win-win situation. You get to stay fit and find a new workout buddy doing something you enjoy. What’s more, your new workout partner can be a great friend outside of the gym as well.

Getting a gym membership how to make friends in a new city, especially if you want extra motivation to stay healthy and fit after changing cities.

5. Try a Dance Class

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If you enjoy moving your body to rhythms, then try joining a dance class. Dance classes offer you an avenue to forge new connections outside of your comfort zone – your room. Get into the groove, pick your favorite genre, and consider dancing in social settings.

Anything from Jazz, Salsa, or Zumba can work. In addition to meeting people with similar passion, dancing is an excellent exercise.

6. Exercise Outdoors

Image Credit: Nick Rickert

Exercising outdoors is one way to make a friend and break a sweat. 

People who spend two to three hours in nature have a 20 percent chance of living a fulfilling life and a 60 percent chance of overall good health. (4)

If you don’t meet someone by yourself, then join a sports club to connect with people in that community.

7. Hang out with Your Pet in a Park

Image Credit: Martin Behrendt

Got a dog or cat? Then walk it or hang out with it at your favorite park. Pets serve as an instant ice breaker with someone who owns one too.

Apart from using the park to make yourself available to potential friends, you can use services like Pawdate (5) to find and connect with pet lovers like you.

9. Join a Faith Group or Cultural Society

Image Credit: Margarida CSilva

One of the easiest ways to connect with people in your new city is through a shared love for faith and culture. 

Are you religious or spiritual? Being a regular at your place of worship can land you some new and supporting friends in your neighborhood.

While religion may not appeal to everyone, you can join cultural societies representing what you believe in instead.

10. Meet up With People of Similar Interests

A fantastic thing about moving to a new city is the ability to start afresh. If you didn’t know people with similar interests or have real friends out of work in your previous city, you can be deliberate about it now.

Are you a Manga or Anime enthusiast? Perhaps, a gamer or an artist? Kick-off your stay in a new city by getting acquainted with people of similar interests. You’ll find most of them online, in forums, and in groups.

Pay close attention to upcoming events and gatherings, and attend them. 

If your new city doesn’t have such hangouts, reach out to people in your groups online. You don’t need to be outgoing to organize one. Discuss with the group and let the extroverts among you volunteer.

It’ll surprise you to see people who are willing to make the trip to your new city.

11. Visit the Beach 

Image Credit: Vidar Nordli-Mathisen

Did you come across a beach or lake while taking a tour in your new city? Take out those shades and beachwear – we’re going to the beach!

You can relax and bask in the sun, or join a volleyball game on the sand with fun people.

Taking water-based classes like snorkeling can also open up avenues to get acquainted with new people too.

12. Try the Pubs or Bars

Image Credit: Hangula lucas

Go for a drink. Maybe two. You are sure to meet all sorts of people at the bar or pub.  

Get invested in pub games and events like karaoke and trivia to strike up conversations with new people.

Or, if you moved to a city with local breweries, ask if they offer brew tours to join in the fun and meet a few drinking buddies.

13. Visit a Museum or National Park

Image Credit: Tore Skogheim

A Museum is a beautiful public place to meet like minds if you’re an art aficionado. Whether private or national, many cities have a variety of museums exhibiting their different collections.

If wildlife is your cup of tea, then opt for spending your day in the national park. There, you can take wildlife classes or go on walking tours with lots of people with similar interests.

14. Join a Professional Networking Group

Other than a change of environment, your business can be another reason to migrate to a new city. If that’s the case, then consider meeting people professionally.

That way, you kill two birds with one stone — build a network of referrals for your business, and make new friends.

Plus, being active at such groups or organizations gives you incredible member benefits such as discounts on services and many promotional opportunities.

You may also join a professional networking group as a career-oriented person if you don’t own a business. These groups can motivate or gear you on with friends who share the same drive.

Contact your city’s Chamber of Commerce for more information on how to join. 

15. Look out for Local Festivals or Carnivals

Image Credit: Ugur Arpaci

Attending your city’s local carnival or festival is a sure-fire way of meeting new friends. Because local festivals have a communal vibe to them, you’re likely to have fun centered around group activities like games, demonstrations, and competitions. Use that opportunity to get to know people and make friends in your city.

16. Attend Block Parties and Mini Social Gatherings

It’s possible to forget to take a breather with all the bustles of new life in your new city. Say hello to your neighbors and deliberately initiate a conversation. They’re likely to invite you to a block party around the corner or a mini-event you probably won’t know about if you were cooped up. Such events can suffice as an avenue to strike up great conversations with people.

17. Buy Food at the Farmer’s Market

Image Credit: Gabriella Clare Marino

Swap store-bought groceries for farm-to-table by buying your foodstuffs at the farmer’s market. This is how to make friends in a new city if you’d want to connect with the locals.

Additionally, you can save money. Many farmers offer great deals on local products and farm produce, at least monthly.

Buying organic and local produce can also help you with healthy living. Shopping at the farmers’ market is an avenue to meet potential friends who share your interest in food and shopping with locals.

18. Use Friendship and Dating Apps

The internet is a hotbed of opportunities for connecting with people in your new city. One of such opportunities is making new friends through apps.

While dating apps and sites help tremendously with finding love online, friendship apps help you land a new pal in your location or across the globe. 

Some of such apps include:

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing (6) offers you a temporary place to stay in a new city. By taking advantage of a network of notable locals and fellow travelers on the app, you might find a few people willing to offer you their couch to crash for a night or two. 

Friender

Friender

Friender (8) dedicates its rich hub of people with various interests to solely finding you a new friend.

Whether you’re on the lookout for a strictly platonic friend or cool friends to hit the bar with – one swipe is all it takes.

Peanut

Peanut

Are you a mom who migrated to a new city with your kid? You can connect with other moms in your new city with the Peanut app (9). It’s built solely for mothers.

Chat, get advice, and make friends with women throughout all stages of motherhood. 

EatWith

EatWith

From dinner parties to food tours, if you love food and travel, this app is for you. EatWith (10) offers you new experiences with food by letting you meet hand-selected locals that serve as your host.

This app lets you remain a foodie forever by giving you a platform to meet fabulous friends you can explore your new city’s cuisine with.

Using dating and friendship apps is how to make friends in a new city in your 20s or as a young person. Most people who use these apps probably just moved to the city and are open to new beginnings.

19. Explore Social Activies You’ve Never Tried

Coming out of your comfort zone is one way to land an unexpected friendship. When you plunge yourself into activities you don’t usually do and show up, there’s a high chance of meeting someone who’ll show you the ropes eventually.

For example, if you’re an introvert and public speaking is a chore to you, then join a local Toastmasters club. 

When you’re in the company of people who share your fears, you might become more confident to break the ice and work on conversing with others.

Take that chance and run with it. You’ve got this.

20. Join Language Exchange Groups

Image Credit: Omar Lopez 

Using a language-learning app that lets you interact with locals can be a game-changer if your new city speaks a different language from you.  You can also join language exchange meetups through social media to quicken the learning process.

Using language learning to initiate social connections is how to make friends in a new city without having to think about topics to talk about. Everything you say is valid because it’s an opportunity to learn the language and also connect with the person. Thus, no ice to break.

If you’re learning French for instance, in addition to the basic greetings, learn questions and statements like:

  • What’s this or that called in French?
  • How do you say (make a statement in English) in French?
  • Please speak more slowly
  • Please repeat, and a few more

These questions help you to prolong conversations. 

If you’re lucky to find people or someone who’s interested in learning your language, you can propose a learning date in a public space. Learning each other’s language will give you more opportunity to learn about yourselves.

21. Bring Your Social Activity to Your New City

If you’re used to doing something in your previous city, but can’t seem to find it, then be proactive and start it at your new place. Start a language or art club, or a public speaking club, anything else that brings people together.

Feel free to invite your coworkers or neighbors, and urge them to each bring a friend. Examples of such things you can start and have others join are book clubs, a cookout, or even a bowling league.

Whatever it is, there’s someone out there who loves it too. You’ll just have to search.

22. Work in Shared Space

Image Credit: Alex Kotliarskyi

It’s not rare to find people working from home these days. However, if you want a change of environment or pace, work in a shared space with people like you.

You can meet new people at these spaces you can hang out with after work each day. Most co-working spaces provide not only a place to work but a hub of professionals that you can rely on.

23. Talk to Coworkers

Image Credit: Amy Hirschi

Your work may also be a reason for moving to a new city. You can win some friends by just being amiable in your first week of work. That way, you’re telling your co-workers that you’re approachable and want to make friends.

You may feel a little awkward at first. But you can start by asking coworkers who respond the most to your warm gestures out for lunch. This can give you an insight into some of their values and show you if you’ll enjoy their company outside of work.

It’s alright if they don’t quite fit what you have in mind. Making the effort to connect with these people is all that matters.

24. Take Night Classes

If you’re taking a new course or attending college in your new city, then night class activities can serve as an icebreaker for you. You can make friends effortlessly with classmates by chatting about assignments or personal lives on your way home.

Local community colleges are a great place to check for courses that interest you. You may also hone your skills or learn a new one in these classes if you’re still searching for a job.

Nevertheless, if the local colleges around you don’t offer skills you want to improve on, such as painting, yoga, or archery; find classes where they make it happen, and enroll.

25. Go for a Thrill-Seeking Activity

Always wanted to be a daredevil? Now is a great time to go on some thrill-seeking adventure. Many countries like Scotland, Netherlands, New Zealand, and South Africa can offer you adventures to last a lifetime. And who knows? You can meet an adventure partner to share your experience with while at it.

Here are some thrill-seeking activities you can try.

Cliff Camping

Image Credit: Joshua Earle

If you have a head and stomach for heights, then you’ll love cliff camping. This thrill-seeking activity lasts all night. 

You’ll sleep on a suspended portaledge facing a cliffside. Because this is an extreme sport, camping companies often pair people without a group together on a ledge. Put your best foot forward, and use the opportunity to make a friend or two. 

Deep Diving With Sharks

Image Credit: Gerald Schömbs

Not everyone can boast of seeing the great white shark up close. But if you go on this adventure, you’d stand a chance.

Somewhere in Capetown, South Africa, people lock themselves in a cage and plunge several feet into the sea.

You’re likely to meet a few people who might be new to this activity as well. Take advantage of the excitement and make friends with your cage members. 

If you have a water-resistant camera, remember to take selfies!

Extreme Hiking

Image Credit: Nathan Dumlao

The only way to go is up in extreme hiking. You may be lucky to have a hiking trail in your new city. In this extreme sport, all you have is your tenacity and the support of other hikers.

Push your limits as you make friends and acquaintances navigating your way through dense woods and mountains without clear trails.

Go on a Rollercoaster Ride

Image Credit: Peter-Paul Moschik

Pleasure loves company. If you’ve been anywhere close to a rollercoaster, you’ll know how heart racing it is to go on a steep drop – not everyone’s cut out for the adrenaline rush.

However, if you’re ready for an insane, plummeting ride to the bottom, then join amusement park groups on Meetup. There, you’ll get acquainted with roller coaster enthusiasts and partake in their next group outing to the park.

26. Be Friendly to Strangers

You can make friends in the strangest places. Be open, and allow yourself some vulnerability that resonates with others around you. Simple things like connecting with neighbors or the couple down the street put you one step ahead in making friends.

Also, when you start to feel cooped up at home, take your book or computer to a coffee house. While you may always keep your nose stuck down in whatever you’re doing, endeavor always to look up briefly. Talk to the stranger next to you – you might never know who they are.

27. Tour Your City to Find Social Hubs

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Image Credit: Joshua Earle via Unsplash

Touring your new city can be helpful for finding multiple social hubs. Take out time to visit places you heard or read about for yourself. You might make new friends when asking for directions, especially if you let people know you’re new and open to making friends.

But that’s not the only reason to tour your city. Learning the city’s active and social hubs can help you know where to hang out more and meet more people who’d be willing to connect with you. Depending on your lifestyle and preferences, bars, gyms, local cafés, and sports centers are awesome for finding friendly people.

You’ll also discover the local convenience stores, police stations, banks, and other places that get you settled in nicely.

Wrapping Up

Congratulations on moving to a new city. Leaving your comfort zone and building new social circles is the best way to make friends both online and offline.  

While you’re here, use any of the 27 ideas above to initiate a connection. You can commit to trying one idea every week until you find your tribe in your new city. Moving to a new city is a bold step. Now, move forward and make friends.

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