10 Easy Ways to Make Friends in a New City

Everyone can stave off the just-moved blues by making a new friend or two. Try these simple tips to start meeting new people.

Published August 9, 2023
Girlfriends drinking cocktails and waiving their friends in the cafe

In the movies, people who are new to town form a lifelong bond with the locals by the second act. Unfortunately, real life isn't so predictable. It can be hard to make friends in a new city, but it doesn't have to be.

From unpacking all those boxes to finding a replacement hairdresser you can trust, there are so many other things you should be worried about. But if you're worried you're never going to find friends in your new city, just follow these helpful tips.

How to Make Friends When You're New in Town 

Moving is one of those catch-22s of life. It can be so exciting switching up your environment and being able to feel like you're conquering new milestones, but on the other hand, landing in a brand new city can be lonely. Stave off those just-moved blues with these helpful tips. With a little strategy and persistence, you'll have friends in no time.

1. Check Out Any Pop-Up Events

Woman looking at necklaces at a pop-up market

Pop-up events are a great way for people to get out and socialize by themselves. From local crafts to vintage markets, these pop-up events are usually free (though sometimes you have to pay for parking) and are full of people browsing around. You can make small talk with others who're interested in the booths you like or with the people running them. 

Quick Tip

Any place with a high concentration of people is a good idea to explore when you've moved to a new town.

2. Head to Social Media for Quick Connections

Social media works for people much like the bar ecosystem used to. You used to just be able to pop on over to a bar and make new friends in your area all the time. But now, the great wide world of the internet lets us do that from the comfort of our own homes.

If you want to find hobby groups or sports teams to join, you can look at the groups listed in your area. Just search by location or topic and see which ones come up.

3. Skip the Big Box Chains and Visit Local Places

Woman at local supermarket

When you're thrust into a new environment, any familiar touchstone can be a lifeline to keep you grounded. But chain restaurants and big box grocery stores won't give you a chance to immerse yourself in your new home.

You're more likely to make conversation and become friendly with staff and regulars at a local store than a giant retailer. So, make a new routine of grabbing breakfast or coffee at a local haunt and see if you can strike up a friendship with some people there.

4. Go Old School and Use Word of Mouth

In those last few weeks before you pack up house, reach out to your family, friends, and coworkers and let them know where you're going. Ask them if they know anyone or know of anyone who might know someone who lives out there.

Your transition to a new town will be so much easier if you go there with a few phone numbers in your pocket. And while these friend-of-a-friend connections might not be forever friends, they'll help you feel less alone in those first few months.

5. Drop By Your Local Bars After Work

If you work in the city, drop by one of the nearby bars every so often and see what the crowd's like. You might find some of your coworkers there to chat with or new bar flies to occupy your time. And if not, you'll become fast friends with the bartender who'll keep drinks coming your way.

6. Head to the Library

Going to the library, where talking's usually discouraged, might seem like a counterintuitive tip, but libraries are a great resource for finding local events that you can use to make new friends. Libraries also frequently put on their own programs you can sign up for. These are mostly small group, which works great if big crowds make you nervous.

7. Introduce Yourself to Your Neighbors

Young woman waving through window to female friend

After unpacking, the first thing you might want to introduce yourself to your neighbors. It's so easy to pop over for 30 minutes or an hour to snack and chat, and they'll probably introduce you to their friends, too. Meeting your neighbors could start a chain reaction that leads to some fast friends in only a few weeks.

8. Get Involved in Local Politics

Whether you're working in advocacy, running for an actual position, or volunteering to help with an election campaign, getting involved in your local politics is one way to surround yourself with like-minded people who live in your area. And it's a great way to get involved with your community, too.

9. Find Groups to Join Through Meetup

Meetup is a unique digital platform where you can search for upcoming events close to your area. What shows up all depends on what people are hosting. And they're not always conventional activities, either. Individual people can host meetups for you to join as well.

10. Go on Tours of Your New City

Young women visiting the city

There's no better way to get to know the people in your city than exploring the city itself. See if there are any historic tours, walking tours, haunted tours, or other fun sight-seeing events that you can attend. And in these intimate groups, there's a lot of opportunity for talking to people who might be just as new as you are to the area.

Making Friends Takes Time

The worst thing you can do after a big move is pressure yourself to have a huge network of close friends after only a month or two. You have to remember that it takes time to cultivate lasting friendships. And the only way you end up with that tight-knit circle is by putting yourself out there and following these tips.

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10 Easy Ways to Make Friends in a New City