8 Ways To Make Friends In A New City (in 2024)

Four girls who became friends through Bumble BFF pose together at brunch.

So, you’ve found yourself in a new place…and while it’s so exciting to get to know a new city, there’s something missing. You need friends, right? It can be daunting to move somewhere new and feel like you have to build a new social circle from the ground up. Making friends as an adult can feel intimidating and it can be hard to know where to start. But fear not! After moving across the country to California, then being uprooted again when I was stationed in Oregon, I’ve got the lowdown for you on making friends in new places. From online swipes to community involvement, here’s your tried-and-true guide to finding friendships that’ll make your new city feel like home sweet home!

Making Friends in a New Place

Bumble BFF: swipe right for friendship

We’re living in an online age – so we might as well take advantage of it and make social connections via smartphone! While Bumble is better known as a dating app, it’s actually the best app for making new friends. Its Bumble BFF feature is a gold mine for making friends in a new city. You can use it to find your next workout buddy, gal pals to brunch with, fellow adventure seekers, karaoke companions…whatever kind of social circle your heart desires. It helps that everyone else on Bumble BFF is looking for friends, too, so that makes it more comfortable to reach out and start a conversation. Craft a profile, swipe right on potential pals, and voilà! You’ll be sipping coffee with your new besties before you know it.

Four girls who became friends through Bumble BFF pose at a reggae festival in Long Beach, CA.
This girl gang came to be courtesy of Bumble BFF!

From personal experience, I love Bumble BFF – I’ve met some of my closest friends through the app! A fun way to kick off your “friend search” is to host a little event: invite a handful of your BFF matches to meet up at a local restaurant for dinner or drinks. It can feel less intimidating for a group to meet up and get to know each other, instead of hanging out one on one at first!

Local clubs: turn hobbies into friendships

Local clubs are like the secret societies of fun-loving individuals. Whether you’re into board games, hiking, or knitting scarves for baby geese (no judgment), there’s a club for you. It might seem intimidating to show up to a meeting without knowing anyone, but gathering the courage to take the plunge is the hardest part! Attend a few meetups, share your passion, and let shared interests blossom into genuine connections. It’s not just about the activity the club is based around; it’s about the fun camaraderie that comes along with it.

Three girls who became friends through Bumble BFF sip on frozen strawberry daquiris.
Sometimes we paint and sip…sometimes we just sip.

Meetup.com: your social calendar savior

Speaking of clubs, Meetup.com makes it easy to make friends in a new place. Just type in the kind of activity or group you’re looking for, add your zip code, and search! You’ll find all kinds of meetups: book clubs, baking nights, pool and darts meetups, athletic groups, cooking classes, networking opportunities – you name it. When I lived in Long Beach, I used Meetup to find a running club and even local volunteer opportunities.

If you live somewhere remote or less populated (I’m looking at you, Astoria!), Meetup will still show you nearby results outside your zip code. Making friends in a new place has never been this organized and fun!

Volunteering: do good, feel good, make friends

This one’s a win-win – why not do good in your new community while also improving your social life? Volunteer for a cause that resonates with you, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by like-minded people and potential friends. Whether you get involved with efforts at a women’s shelter, city beautification projects like tree planting, or canine care at a local animal shelter, there are so many ways to help out in your new community. Plus, there’s a certain bond that forms when people make a positive impact together. Sites like VolunteerMatch.org make it easy to find volunteering opportunities in your area.

VolunteerMatch list of volunteer opportunities.

Classes: learn and grow together

From pottery and coding to ballet and watercolor painting, signing up for a class is an amazing way to learn something new and make friends in the process. As you likely remember from school, the shared experience of navigating the learning can forge a unique bond. So, take the leap and register for that class you’ve been curious about, and who knows – your future friend might be signing up as we speak!

Sports leagues: shoot, score, bond!

If you’ve got an athletic streak, joining a sports league might just be the ultimate way to unleash your competitive spirit while making new friends. Whether you’re a soccer stud or just trying not to trip over your shoelaces, the camaraderie on the field is real, and there are adult leagues for players of all skill levels! You can find adult sports leagues through sites like Adults Play Sports, your area’s Parks and Recreation Department, or search for groups on Facebook.

Community events: everyone’s invited

Community events like farmer’s markets, cultural celebrations, and festivals are the social playgrounds of your new city. Don’t be afraid to strike up conversations, taste local treats, and feel the vibes of your new community. When I moved to Astoria, my first move was to beeline over to the Astoria Sunday Market – everyone was so warm and welcoming! I hope your community makes making new friends in a new city just as easy.

Work: from coworker to confidant

One woman holds a hose as another uses the water to flush out her eyes after getting pepper sprayed for training.
Sometimes, you bond with your coworkers when they take care of you after you get pepper sprayed for training…

Okay, I know you might not want to spend time after hours with the people you spend ALL DAY with at work. But hear me out – your coworkers might surprise you outside the workplace! Try hanging out with a few of your favorite coworkers after the work day, and see if any of those relationships might be worth turning into friendships. And, befriending coworkers comes with an added bonus: they could introduce you to their friends, as well, expanding your social circle even further. Personally, I loved being friends with my coworkers in California, and here in Oregon many of my friends are fellow Coasties (and their spouses!).

That’s a wrap

So, there it is —your ultimate guide to making friends in a new city. Whether you’re swiping on Bumble BFF, trying your hand at a new skill, or diving into community events, remember that the absolute key to genuine connections is authenticity. Be yourself and watch as you attract a social circle full of supportive friends. Making friends in a new place is so much more than just filling your calendar – it’s about creating a network of laughter, fun, and amazing memories. Here’s to you embarking on your new adventure, to new friendships, and to the exciting journey that awaits you in your new city!

What’s the best way you’ve found to make friends in a new place? Let’s hear it in the comments below!

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