How to Meet People and Make Friends in a New City (27 Tips)

Landing in a fresh city can be exciting, yes, but also a bit lonely. If you’re in a similar situation, don’t worry—making friends in a new city is totally doable, and it can even be a lot of fun!

You might miss your old friends, but hey, imagine all the awesome people you’ve yet to meet here. All it takes is a little bit of effort, an open mind, and some proven strategies for meeting people and making connections.

As someone who has been in your shoes, I’ve picked up some smart moves to mingle and make this new place feel like your newest home sweet home. Ready to turn those unknown faces into familiar friends? Stick with me, and let’s make your social life in this new city something to look forward to!

Get Out There in Real Life

This one’s a bit old school, but it’s got its charm—just step outside and get involved in anything that’s happening around you. Sure, online’s great, but real-life stuff is where you can really connect.

Here’s the thing: the more you get out, the more you’re part of the world around you—and the more chances you have to bump into someone who could become a friend.

A few easy ways to dive in:

  • Say “hi” to someone when you’re waiting in line or sitting in a cafe.
  • Pay a compliment—if someone’s reading a book you love, tell them!
  • Keep an eye out for community boards—they’re full of local happenings looking for participants.
"Some people don’t talk much in a chat, which is fine, but when you meet someone in person you may feel a little more comfortable having a conversation." 

— Devon Horace | Owner, Horace Consulting

Change Your Mindset

Moving to a new city is both exciting and scary, especially when it comes to making new friends. That’s totally normal, but don’t let your worries stop you! Having the right mindset is the most important thing for meeting people and making connections.

Now, it’s not just about thinking good thoughts. You’ve got to believe you’re the kind of person others want to hang out with. Maybe you’re not there yet, and that’s okay.

Start small—say “Hi,” to the bus driver or ask someone in the grocery store which apples are best for pie. Little things like that can turn into big things.

So what can you do right now? Well, next time you’re at work or out for a walk, try talking to someone you see. It doesn’t have to be a big conversation, just something simple to start. Most people are happy to talk for a bit, and every chat you have is a step toward making new friends.

Wear a Friendly Smile

Ever notice how when you smile at someone, they usually smile back? It’s because smiling at people is a way of saying hi without talking.

Smiling doesn’t cost anything, and it can make you and the people around you feel good. Think about how nice it feels when a stranger smiles at you. It’s that quick connection that says, “Hey, it’s all good.” You might even make someone’s day without knowing it.

What can you do with your smile? Next time you grab a coffee, smile and say thanks to the person who made it. Or give a quick smile to someone walking their dog in the park.

Trust me, a simple smile can be the start of a great friendship. Just keep it real and authentic—you don’t need a fake, over-the-top grin that might seem weird!

Don’t Be Afraid to Make the First Move

Now, starting a conversation with someone new can be scary—but it’s also the best way to make new friends. Everyone likes to be noticed, and most people like to chat, so your friendly “hello” is more welcome than you think.

Here’s something you could try:

  • If you see someone looking at a book you love at the store or library, tell them it’s a good choice and ask what other books they like.
  • If you’re at the gym, you could ask someone how their workout is going.

Simple things like that can be the start of something bigger—like a new friendship.

Remember: Rejection is a normal part of making friends, and it doesn’t define you. Keep putting yourself out there, and eventually, you’ll find your group of friends. Just remember to be respectful, pay attention to social cues, and, most importantly, have fun!

Join Local Clubs of Your Interest

Getting involved in a club can be one of the best ways to meet people who like the same things you do—whether you’re into sports, arts, or anything in between, This makes starting a conversation a whole lot easier because you’ve got common ground from the get-go.

Looking for a club to join? You can check out local community boards, do a quick online search or see what’s happening at the public library or community center. Sometimes you’ll find flyers or notices about meet-ups.

Here’s a tip: When you join a club, don’t just go to the meetings and listen—make sure to take part. Help set up, offer to bring snacks, or suggest an idea for the next project. When you’re active in the group, people see you as a go-getter and someone they want to get to know. Plus, you’ll have more fun too!

Attend Fairs or Festivals

Heard about that fair or festival happening in your new city? Don’t miss it out and circle that date on your calendar!

There’s music, food, maybe some crafts or rides. And guess what? They’re also perfect for meeting new folks. People at these events are usually in a great mood and up for a chat, so it’s a good chance to make connections.

When you’re walking around, just enjoying the vibe, keep an eye out for people who look like they might also be there on their own. Making a new friend could be as easy as asking them if they’ve tried the giant turkey legs or where they found that cool t-shirt.

Use Social Media and Online Platforms

In today’s digital age, social media and online platforms have become powerful tools for connecting with people, even in a new city. Here are some ways you can use these platforms to your advantage:

  • Facebook Groups: Join local Facebook groups that match your hobbies, like groups for hikers, food lovers, or book fans. Participate in the posts, leave comments, and even make your own posts inviting people to meet up for an activity.
  • Instagram: Use location tags and hashtags to find local hotspots and events. Follow and interact with local businesses, influencers, or people who like the same things you do. You can also post about your own experiences and use relevant hashtags to attract people with similar interests.
  • Reddit: Many cities have their own subreddits where locals talk about events, share tips, and connect with each other. Join your city’s subreddit and join in on discussions, ask for recommendations, or even suggest a meetup for other Redditors.

Now, it’s important to remember to stay safe when you’re meeting up with new people on the internet. Always meet in public places, let a friend know where you’re going, and trust your gut—if something feels off, it’s okay to back out.

Volunteer for a Cause You Care About

One of the most rewarding ways to meet new people in a city is by volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about. Not only will you be making a positive impact on your community, but you’ll also have the chance to connect with like-minded individuals who share your values.

Look for a local charity, a community clean-up, or an animal shelter that needs a hand. When you’re all working towards a common goal, it’s easy to strike up a conversation. Plus, you get that feel-good factor from doing something worthwhile. It’s a win-win.

To find volunteer opportunities:

  • Start by thinking about the causes that matter most to you.
  • Look for local organizations that support those causes. You can search online, check with local community centers, or even ask around at work or school.
  • Once you find an organization you like, reach out and ask about volunteer opportunities.

As you get involved, don’t be shy to partake in different tasks or to grab lunch with the other volunteers. That’s how you go from just sharing a workspace to sharing stories and, eventually, maybe even sharing a friendship.

Participate in Sports or Fitness Activities

Love getting active? Sports and fitness activities are perfect for meeting new people. It could be a team sport like soccer or basketball, or maybe a running club, or even a yoga class at the local gym.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Sign up for a team or a sports league in your city.
  • Go to group fitness classes and say hi to the person next to you.
  • Join a running or cycling group—they often have members of all levels.

The cool thing about being part of a sports group is the energy—everyone’s there to get fitter and have a good time. When you’re in a game or a workout, there’s a lot of cheering and high-fiving, and that helps break the ice. After the game or class, grab a drink or a bite to eat with your new teammates, and you’ll find friendships form pretty quickly.

Take Classes or Workshops

Learning something new is another awesome way to meet folks. Whether you’re into cooking, painting, or coding, there are classes and workshops all over the place for those things. When you join a class, you and the other students are starting from the same point, which can make talking and getting to know each other more comfortable.

Check out what’s on offer at:

  • Local colleges or adult education centers.
  • Libraries or community centers—they often have flyers or bulletin boards with loads of info.
  • Specialty shops related to your interests—the staff usually know what’s happening around town.

Now, don’t just sneak in and out of class quietly—stick around. Chat about the lesson, or ask someone what they thought of it. Or maybe even suggest grabbing a coffee to go over what you’ve learned. It’s these little steps toward being friends that add up over time.

Reach Out to Friends of Friends

Okay, it might feel a bit like you’re back in school asking for intros, but hey, friends of your friends can become your friends too. It’s like that six degrees of separation thing.

So, don’t be shy to let your pals know you’re looking to meet new people. More often than not, they’ll be happy to help you out by setting up an intro.

Next time you chat with a friend, mention you’re keen on getting to know more folks and ask if they have friends in your new city. Chances are, they do, and they can put you in touch. Plus, it’s nice to have a common friend to talk about when you first meet up.

Initiate Conversations With Neighbors

Neighbors can be a goldmine for new friendships – you see them around all the time, after all. So, why not turn those waves from your porch into a real conversation?

Keep it casual and just be curious about them. Something like, “I couldn’t help but notice your garden is amazing, got any tips?” is enough to break the ice. If you’re in an apartment, that elevator ride’s your chance to strike up a convo about the weather or something funny about the building.

It doesn’t have to be deep—just friendly and genuine.

Be a Regular at a Spot You Enjoy

Here’s a neat little trick: pick a place you like and start going there often. Could be a coffee shop, a gym, a library, or even a park bench. When you’re a regular, other regulars start to recognize you, and voila, you’re not strangers anymore!

So, how can you become a regular at a spot you enjoy?

  • First, choose a place that aligns with your interests and values. If you’re a coffee lover, find a local café with a great atmosphere and quality brews. If you’re a bookworm, seek out an independent bookstore with a cozy reading nook.
  • Then, make a point to visit your chosen spot regularly—aim for at least once a week to start.
  • Engage with the staff and other regulars, and don’t be afraid to strike up conversations when the opportunity arises.

Over time, you’ll start to build a sense of community and belonging in your new city, one latte or paperback at a time.

Explore Local Cafes and Bars

Cafes and bars aren’t just for a quick drink or a caffeine fix—they’re prime spots for socializing. When you’re at these places, everyone’s a little more relaxed, making it a great time to strike up a conversation. Just find a cozy spot and settle in with a drink or your laptop.

Try out these steps:

  • Do some research and make a list of spots that look interesting to you.
  • Then, make a point to visit each one, maybe even becoming a regular at your favorites.
  • Don’t be afraid to chat with the baristas or bartenders—they often have great insights into the local community and can introduce you to other regulars.
  • And if you see an event that catches your eye, show up and participate! You never know who you might meet over a latte or a local brew.

Attend Local Music or Theater Performances

There’s something about sharing an experience, like a live performance, that can really bond people. Whether it’s grooving to a local band or getting lost in the drama of a play, these events attract people who love culture and entertainment—just like you.

Keep an eye out for events at:

  • Nearby theaters for upcoming plays or improv nights.
  • Local venues that are known for great live music.
  • Community centers that host open-mic nights or small recitals.

While you’re there, strike up a conversation during intermission or while you’re waiting for the show to start. “Have you seen this band before?” or “What do you think of the play so far?” are easy ways to spark a chat.

Join a Book Club

If you love getting lost in a good book, why not share that passion with others? Book clubs and discussion groups not only give you a reason to finish that novel but also a chance to chat about it with people afterward.

You can find book clubs at:

  • The local library—often a hotspot for book lovers.
  • Nearby bookstores—many host monthly discussions.
  • Online communities—then meet up for the discussion in person.

Being part of a book club means you’ve got an instant conversation starter. “What did you think of the ending?” or “Which character did you relate to the most?” can kick off some really interesting chats.

Join an Outdoor Adventure Group

For the nature lovers out there, joining an outdoor adventure group offers fresh air, exercise, and some potential hiking buddies. Getting outside and hitting the trails is a refreshing way to unplug and have some real conversations—free from the distractions of our screens.

Being in the great outdoors naturally brings people closer together—there’s something about trekking up a hill or sharing a scenic view that opens people up to talking. And after a good hike, grabbing some food with the group always feels like a treat.

Attend Museum Events

When you go to these, you’ll meet people who also like to learn new things or just enjoy cool art. Maybe you see someone else checking out the same painting as you. That’s your chance to start chatting. You could say something as simple as, “That’s a cool piece, huh?”

Here’s what you can do: Look up the museum schedule, then go to an event or two. Take it slow—check out the displays, have a snack, and chat with others. It’s pretty laid-back, and talking to people is part of the fun. Why not go for it?

Sign Up for Group Tours

Join a local tour. No kidding, it’s not just for tourists. It’s a fun way to see different parts of your city and bump into others doing the same. Food tours, historical walks – you name it, they’ve got it. And on these tours, everyone’s in a good mood and keen to talk about what you’re all seeing and learning.

Just chat with the person next to you about whatever’s going on. Maybe it’s a quirky fact from the guide or some local history. Sharing a little moment or a laugh on the tour is a ready-made opportunity to connect.

So go on, sign up for some tour, keep it easy, and chat with the others in your group. You’re there to have a good time and meet new people, right? Go with the flow and enjoy the experience together.

Connect With Coworkers Outside of Work

If you’re new to a city because of your job, your coworkers can be a great way to make friends. You see these people every day, but hanging out after work can show you who they are outside of the office.

Here’s what you could do:

  • Chat about stuff you like to do after work. Maybe someone wants to join you?
  • If there’s a work get-together, don’t miss it. These can be really fun.
  • Even a lunch out with the work crowd can lead to more hangouts.

Just relax. Share those funny stories from your weekend, not the office. It’s all about enjoying each other’s company and letting the work friendships grow.

Always Say Yes—At Least Initially

When you’re new in town, saying yes to invites can open doors. Whether it’s a casual coffee, a walk in the park, or a local event—give it a go. It’s a chance to hang out with different people and try out new things. Sometimes you just have to go for it, even if it’s outside your comfort zone.

But hey, while it’s good to be open to new experiences, it’s also cool to set your limits. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s okay to take a breather. Maybe you’re tired or something just doesn’t feel right—trust your gut and take a raincheck. No pressure.

Attend Trivia Nights or Pub Quizzes

Trivia nights at local pubs or cafes are a great way to show off your knowledge, have some laughs, and maybe even win a prize or two.

Look out for places that run these kinds of events—it’s often advertised or mentioned casually if you ask the staff. Don’t have a team? No worries, most times you can just join an existing team or form a new one on the spot.

Quick tips:

  • Just walk in and ask if any team is open for an extra brain—it’s a friendly way to jump in.
  • Don’t sweat if you don’t know many answers. It’s more about the fun and the team spirit.
  • After the quiz, hang around for a chat to really get to know your new teammates.

Frequent in a Coworking Space

Coworking spaces are not just for freelancers or small businesses—anyone can pop in and work alongside others. It’s got this vibe that’s professional yet pretty chill, perfect for striking up conversations over coffee breaks or shared work tables.

So, if you can, give a coworking space a try. Bring your laptop, pick a spot, and get settled in. Breaks are prime time to introduce yourself to others around you. Just keep it casual, like, “How’s your day going?” or “That looks like an intense project!” Before you know it, you’ll feel like part of the crew.

Stroll the Local Market

Strolling through the stalls, you’ll see people selling homemade stuff, local veggies, or even some cool crafts. It’s a casual setting, perfect for saying hi and maybe making a few friendly comments about the fresh tomatoes or the homemade jam.

When you’re walking around, don’t rush. Take your time to look at things and if something catches your eye, ask the seller about it. Talk to other shoppers too. Chances are, they have some good tips on which stall has the best deals or the tastiest bites.

Take Your Dog to the Park

If you’ve got a dog, the park should be your go-to. Seriously, dogs are like social magnets. When you let your pup off the leash, you can bet they’ll make friends for you. People love to come up and pet dogs, ask about their breed, or just share a laugh as they watch them play—and that’s your conversation starter right there.

Chill on the bench or stroll around while your furry buddy does their thing. You’ll likely bump into other dog owners doing the same. It’s easy to get talking when your dogs are already having a sniff fest.

  • Offer some spare doggy bags to someone who might need one.
  • Share tips on where to find the best dog treats in town.
  • If you see the same people often, suggest a doggy playdate—you get to hang out, and so do your pups.
"Taking your dog on regular walks will surely get a person or two stopping you to ask, “May I pet your dog?” With their attention now on you and your dog, mention that you are new to the area and ask their opinion on places to visit. You may find yourself surprised by the suggestions and dive into other topics."

— Justin Lavelle | Chief Communications Officer, Been Verified

Wear Something Colorful, Fun, and Playful

An easy way to stand out and invite a chat is to wear something that pops. Got a T-shirt with your favorite band on it, or maybe some bright, funky shoes? Those can be real conversation starters.

When you wear something that shows off a bit of your personality, people who dig the same stuff might just throw a compliment or strike up a chat.

  • Someone might come up and say, “Hey, I love that band too!” and boom, you’re talking music.
  • Fun clothes often mean a fun person. It makes you look approachable and friendly.

So, give it a try. Next time you’re out and about, throw on something that feels fun to you. It’s a cool way to express yourself and maybe catch the eye of a future pal.

"Every month I attend an early morning meeting where I don’t know a single person there. ...I wear a bright fanciful necktie... My fun tie often gets a number of compliments which makes it a great ice-breaker... This often leads to a spirited encounter and an exchange of business cards..."

— Allen Klein, MA, CSP | World’s only Jollytologist® | Speaker | TEDx Presenter | Author, Embracing Life After Loss: A Gentle Guide for Growing through Grief

Go on a Few Dates

Dating isn’t just about finding romance—it’s also a pretty solid way to meet new people and even make friends. Each date is a chance to chat about your likes, dislikes, and everything in between. Even if there’s no spark, you might find someone who’s great friend material.

Just treat each date as a chance to get to know someone new in the city. Keep the conversation going and stay open-minded. Who knows, they might introduce you to your future best buddy or invite you to a cool local event.

  • Be honest about wanting to make new friends—you’re not the only one!
  • Even if it’s not a love match, you might share common interests.
  • Enjoy the date for what it is—a meet-up with someone interesting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I survive in a new city without socializing?

While it’s certainly possible to get by without socializing, having a social network can greatly enhance your quality of life in a new city.

Friends can provide support and laughter and help you feel connected. It’s healthy to have people to talk to, share experiences with, and count on.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when trying to make friends?

– Trying too hard to impress and not being yourself.
– Sticking strictly to your comfort zone and not exploring new places or activities.
– Only talking about yourself and not actively listening to others.
– Being overly pushy or aggressive about hanging out.
– Ignoring social cues and not respecting personal boundaries.
– Giving up too quickly after a few unsuccessful attempts at making friends.

What if I don’t click with the first few people I meet? Should I give up?

Don’t give up. Not everyone will be a perfect match, and that’s okay. Keep meeting new people and attending events. Friendships often happen when you least expect them, so stay open to possibilities and continue to be friendly and approachable.

Final Thoughts

Moving to a new city is a big change, but it’s also a big opportunity. It’s a chance to start fresh, to try new things, and to meet new people. Yes, it can be scary and overwhelming at times, but I hope these tips help you feel more at home where you are.

Remember, everyone once was new and looking for friends, just like you. Making friends is about sharing a bit of your life and being interested in someone else’s. So out there, give these ideas a try, and watch your world grow bigger, one new friend at a time.

Don’t be too shy to say hi!” It’s your adventure, so start living it!

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Clariza is a passionate writer and editor who firmly believes that words have great power. She has a degree in BS Psychology, which gives her an in-depth understanding of the complexities of human behavior. As a woman of science and art, she fused her love for both fields in crafting insightful articles on lifestyle, mental health, and social justice to inspire others and advocate for change.

In her leisure time, you can find her sitting in the corner of her favorite coffee shop downtown, deeply immersed in her bubble of thoughts. Being an art enthusiast that she is, she finds bliss in exploring the rich world of fiction writing and diverse art forms.