99 Ways to Find IRL Community
Feeling connected to others isn’t always easy, especially in a world where screens dominate so much of our time. Finding community, a feeling of fellowship with others through shared interests and values is a great way to build connections and experience a sense of belonging. Whether you’re feeling lonely, want to meet new people or hope to strengthen the relationships in your life, here are 99 ways to find community offline and in the real world.
Find Community Out in the World
“Libraries often offer classes, workshops, community meetups and other events for free.”
- Try to go out by yourself. You never know who you’ll meet or bump into.
- And while you’re out, put the phone down so you can be present and notice the people and places around you.
- Go to the park and simply be around other people.
- Or if you prefer to be by the water, go to a beach or lake.
- On rainy days, you could go to a museum or an aquarium.
- Get your furry friend out of the house and meet some new people (and pets) at the dog park.
- Wherever you decide to go, talk to strangers while you’re out. Ask questions or start a conversation.
- Get chatty at the hair salon.
- Schedule regular nail or other beauty appointments – make it a time to catch up with friends or to make new ones.
- Go to a brewery or beer garden.
- Not much of a beer drinker? Try a winery.
- Or head to your favorite bar. Don’t be afraid to chat with your bartenders!
- Look up what local spots are hosting trivia nights.
- Become a regular at your local coffee shop. And talk with your baristas – maybe they’ll start to remember your name and order.
- Go to events at your local library. Libraries often offer classes, workshops, community meetups and other events for free.
- Similarly, see what’s going on at your local community center.
- If you want to connect with other creatives, go to a poetry slam or open mic night.
- Or jam out in the crowd at live music events or concerts.
- Sporting events are great for getting together with others to cheer on your favorite team.
- For more niche interests, look for meetups for specific things like board games or knitting.
- Go to food, music, or art festivals.
- Look for mixer events in your area like themed-dances or cocktail hours.
- Be around people on your daily commute by using public transportation.
- Spend some time at bookstores. Booksellers love to share their favorite recommendations, so don’t be afraid to ask!
- And while shopping at any local business, try striking up conversation with the owner or other patrons.
- Take shopping outside at a flea, vintage, or farmers market. Talk to the vendors if you go alone, or bring some friends and make it a regular outing.
- If you’re a student, get involved in your classes, clubs and other activities at school.
- Go on a tour of your city (or a city you’re traveling to).
- Try a hostel instead of a hotel when you travel.
- If you’re traveling alone, try talking to the people you meet in the new place. Ask locals for recommendations on what to do.
- Attend a conference for work or something you’re passionate about. First time? Here are some tips.
Find Community in Your Current Relationships
“Try saying ‘yes’ when your friends put a lot of effort into organizing a get-together.”
- Invite a friend and their boo to come along on a double date!
- Or go on a friend date. Here are some ideas that don’t require spending money.
- We’re all busy, so there’s no shame in scheduling regular hangouts with your friends.
- Hand-write a letter to a friend, family member or pen pal.
- Not much of a writer? Draw or paint something for them.
- Go to family functions for holidays and birthdays.
- Need an occasion? Try creating your own holidays and traditions.
- Host a viewing party for awards shows, movies or your favorite tv show.
- Or have a listening party if your favorite artist is releasing a new album.
- Competitive folks: Throw a game night! Play old favorites or try a new board game.
- If you like to cook, host a seasonally inspired dinner party.
- Organize a themed-party. We’re just saying… It doesn’t have to be Halloween to host a costume party.
- Take the party outside and throw a picnic. Charcuterie boards and a big blanket? Yes, please!
- Have your friends over for mocktails. See who can make the cutest and most delicious N/A drink.
- Talk to your coworkers. We spend so much time at work every week, so we might as well make some friends while we’re there.
- And maybe take those work friendships beyond the office and go to a happy hour.
- So you’re not much of a planner, that’s okay! Try saying “yes” when your friends put a lot of effort into organizing a get-together.
Find Community in New Relationships
“Meet your friends’ friends, and introduce all your friends to each other.”
- Join organizations that align with your identities.
- Have kids at home? Join a parents group!
- Get involved in religious or spiritual organizations or groups. Maybe join a more specific group within those organizations too.
- Join professional organizations or networking groups.
- Find coworking spaces if you are a freelancer or work from home.
- We’re all going through things, and support groups are a great way to find others experiencing similar situations.
- Anonymous meetings are another way to connect with those who are going through similar struggles.
- Get to know your neighbors. Whether you’re just moving in or have lived near them for years, go say hi!
- See if your neighborhood hosts a block party where you can get to know a lot of neighbors at once.
- Overlap your friend groups. Meet your friends’ friends, and introduce all your friends to each other.
- Meet your partner’s friends. Introduce them to your friends.
Find Community While Doing Good
“Participate in a protest or march.”
- Volunteer in your community. Find something you care about and donate your time.
- Sign up to work at the polls on election days.
- Organize a food drive.
- Enjoy working with kids? Sign up to volunteer at a summer camp.
- Join an advocacy group for an issue you care about.
- Want to get out and show your support for issues you care about? Participate in a protest or march.
- Share your skills with others and sign up to teach a class.
- Host a clothing swap to cultivate community and to sustainably find some new clothes.
- Participate in a beach or park cleanup.
- Get a plot in a community garden. Share it with some friends and take care of it together, or do it yourself and share what you grow with others.
- Join the board of a local organization.
Find Community While Getting Active
“Planning to run a 5K, half marathon or marathon? Train for the race with others.”
- Sign up for a recreational sport. Volleyball, basketball, soccer – you choose!
- Don’t want the commitment but still want to play? Hop in on a pickup game.
- Get out on the green and join a golf league.
- Planning to run a 5K, half marathon or marathon? Train for the race with others.
- Join a walking group.
- Go hiking and talk to people you meet along the way. If you’re planning to go alone, here are some tips for solo hiking.
- Join a biking group or go out for a spin with some friends.
- Become a regular at the gym.
- Join a yoga studio. Get to class early and chat with your fellow yogis before it starts.
- Or try a spin, pilates, or other exercise class.
- Go to the climbing gym.
- Roller skating has made a big comeback. Head to a rink or find a group of skaters to roll with.
- If it’s snowy where you live, go skiing or snowboarding.
- Combine fitness and creativity by taking a dance class.
- Swim – or float – at a public pool.
Find Community While Learning Something New
“Learn to think on your feet and take an improv class.”
- Let your inner artist shine and take a painting class.
- Create functional art in a pottery class. New coffee mug, new friends. It’s a win-win.
- Craft workshops are a fun way to meet people and learn new skills like woodworking, jewelry-making or mixed media art.
- Or get creative with technology at a makerspace.
- Join a book club, or start your own!
- Feeling dramatic? Audition for your community theater.
- Or learn to think on your feet and take an improv class.
- Enroll in continuing education or weekend classes.
- Or maybe go to or go back to college and get a degree!
- Sign up for a language-learning class.
- Join a writing group.
- Take a cooking class and use what you learn to cook for your people.
- Level up your baking with a cake-decorating workshop.
- Think about what hobbies you enjoy or want to learn, and start your own club or group.
Brianna Schubert is a writer and editor living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When she’s not writing about books, lifestyle, and culture, you can find her cooking up a new recipe, reading and recommending books, or finding hidden gems at vintage and thrift stores. Say hi on Instagram!