When you’re in the mood to meet someone new, it can be tempting to go with the old standbys. You know, the bar, the club, a dating app — all the places guaranteed to be chock full of singles. But if you haven’t had any luck, or you feel a bit bored or burnt out, it may be time to meet your next partner somewhere more interesting.
While there’s nothing wrong with meeting someone online, or hitting up the bar, it can be fun to see what other options are out there. So, where can you start? As a licensed relationship counselor and dating coach Samantha Burns says, “… think strategically about where the type of person you want to date would hang out, as well as what you like to do for fun.”
Are you all about hiking? Or are you super into art? Then get out on the trails or stop by your local gallery. “Approaching someone in this situation feels natural. You won’t have to worry about how to break the ice because it’s easy to chat about something contextual and related to the activity you’re doing.” (Genius, right?) If you’re ready to get out there, then read on for a few more interesting places you might be able to meet your next partner.
1. A “Quiet Club”
Have you ever tried quiet clubbing? “Unlike the club scene, there [isn’t any] blaring music so you can actually have a conversation with the person next to you,” says dating and relationship expert Amber Soletti. “Based on what color the LED lights of their headsets are you can tell if you [someone has] similar music tastes and easily strike up a conversation.” How cool is that?
2. In The Park
In some cases, all it takes to meet someone new is the perfect (mildly orchestrated) opportunity. “I know a woman who met her husband of five years by just laying a blanket [in the park] and putting out a little spread of food,” Soletti says. “She was super approachable-looking and friendly. Definitely paid off.”
3. An Opening Night Celebration
In college I used to frequent opening nights (for art galleries and whatnot) because they offered free wines and cheeses. So imagine showing up for a similar reason and meeting your fellow cheese-loving soulmate. These events are also great, as relationship expert Davida Rappaport tells me, because they put people in the mood to mingle.It’s truly the perfect place to meet someone new.
4. Your Local Rock Climbing Wall
Even if you aren’t the best at climbing, I promise indoor rock walls are a good time. Not only is it fun to see how high you can climb, they offer the perfect opportunity to find like-minded — and trustworthy — people. “It attracts healthy, focused, skillful people who are generally patient and good with their hands,” relationship coach Cathryn Mora tells Bustle. “Once you’re trained, you can also offer to belay for the other person, which creates trust — the perfect foundation for a great relationship.”
5. Flea Markets
If you want to find a fellow thrifter or food lover, then definitely hit up your local flea market. As Rappaport tells me, people go there just to mill around, so it offers many chances to strike up a convo. Plus, if you both reach for the same vintage brooch, then you’ll know you’ve found yourself a match made in heaven.
6. The Grocery Store
If you frequent Trader Joe’s of Whole Foods, you’ve probably noticed they have a nice community vibe going on — as well as one that attracts lots of like-minded people. As Rappaport says, “You can always strike up a conversation with someone about a product you see them holding.” Simple as that.
7. In An Elevator
Elevators can be awkward AF, but that enclosed space can also be the perfect place to start a convo. This is especially true if you take the elevator together everyday for work, as a natural friendship may develop over time. “If you both are single, you may progress past the ‘hello stage’ over a few weeks or months,” Rapport says. “Anything is possible.”
8. During An Uber Pool
The next time you’re crammed into an Uber Pool or Lyft Line, be brave and chat up your fellow passengers. “If you’ve mastered the art of small talk, there’s no better place to shine,” life coach and advice columnist Chelsea Leigh Trescott tells Bustle. You never know what it could lead to.
9. At Your Friend’s Wedding
Of course, you should focus on your friend at his or her wedding (it is their day, after all). But it never hurts to look around for other singles. “Weddings have a reputation of being a fantastic place to meet prospective partners,” Rappaport says. “At weddings, nearly everyone is celebrating alcohol, good food, and loving people.” It creates the perfect relaxed environment to put your shining personality on full display.
10. A Meetup Group
If you’re dying to meet someone who shares your passion for vegan food or photography or comic books, a Meetup group might be your best bet. As therapist and relationship specialist Orly Katz tells me, they are full of people who share a common interest, making chatting up a stranger easier than ever.
11. Dance Classes
While lining up for a dance class may not be for the faint of heart, it is a pretty great way to get up close and personal with someone new. As Burns says, “… over the course of a night you’ll have many partners, so it’s a good way to mix and mingle.”
12. “Extreme” Races And Mud Runs
Many mud runs and other extreme races require a certain level of physical fitness, but there are shorter ones that anyone can try. If you’re down for a fun day out, it may be worth your time — especially since the post-race parties are always super fun. As certified counselor Jonathan Bennett says, “After the race, there is typically a giant party complete with food, drinks, and music. Usually, around four to five thousand people attend these events and they have a very positive, friendly vibe.” What could be better than that?
13. Group Hikes
If you love the outdoors, it may be worth giving a group hike a try. “It’s easy to say ‘hi’ or start talking to others on the trail,” Jacky Falchook, a psychological consultant for ROVR, tells Bustle. Not only is it a calm and serene place to chat, but you’ll have the instant connection of a shared activity.
14. While Shopping
This one may sound strange, but it does make sense when you think about it. Let’s say you’re out shopping for new glasses. As licensed marriage and family therapist Sara Sedlik tells me, trying on new frames offers the perfect opportunity to turn to a cute stranger and ask how you look. “[It’s a] super easy way to get a compliment and assess what someone thinks of you … and how they are socially,” she says. Genius.
15. Anywhere, Really
As long as you remain open to possibility, the entire world is your oyster. “The key is just opening your eyes and taking a good look around,” says Three Day Rule matchmaker Caitlin Bergstein. “You can meet really great people in your day-to-day life, doing the things you would be doing anyway.”
Whether it’s at the grocery store or in the park, you never know where you’ll meet your next partner. All you gotta do is get yourself out there.