14 Ways to Meet New People When You Move to A Different City

What do you do when you move somewhere new and you don’t know anyone?

Whether you have moved abroad, you are on a Working Holiday or you are a digital nomad who is settling somewhere for a while, finding yourself in an unfamiliar city with no friends can be tough. It can take some time to build up a social network in your new location and find people you want to hang out with.

If you’re wondering how on earth you’ll find someone fun to hang out with, here are some great ways to meet new people when you move somewhere. They might not all apply to your current situation, but you’ll likely find lots of ideas on this list that will help you start to grow your circle of friends.

14 Ways to Meet New People When You Move Somewhere

Facebook groups can be a way to make new friends when you move to a different city.

Local Facebook Groups

Facebook groups can be another great way to meet people when you arrive in a new city. Take a look and see if there is a “Newcomers” or “Expats” group for your particular location. Most of the time there is already a thriving online community you can join. You’ll find local tips, advice and recommendations, as well as plenty of interesting discussion.

Go ahead, post a status inviting people to join you for a coffee or happy hour. You might be surprised just how many new friends you find!

meet new people when you move
Meetup can be a great way to socialize and meet new people when you move to a different place.

Meetup.com

Meetup is a really cool website where you can find events and get-togethers organized by other people in your area based on common interests. When you sign up, you can select the types of events you are interested in – whether it’s book clubs, hiking excursions, language learning or Medieval reenactment. You’ll be able to browse and attend the meetups that have been organized by people in your area who share your interests – or even set up your own.

The great circle of friends that Lee and I formed while living in Tbilisi, Georgia for 11 months was sparked by a wine and cheese night that we saw posted on Meetup. We made several wonderful people who became our core group of friends and who introduced us to others.

meet new people when you move
If sports are your thing, you’ll meet plenty of great people to chase the ball with.

Team Sports

Okay, this one is not for me because I have the coordination of a drunk bear and I flinch whenever a ball is thrown in my direction – but if you have any sort of sporting inclination this can be a great way to make friends. Check to see if there are any amateur league sports teams in your area that you can join in and play with.

The competition and teamwork fosters a sense of camaraderie that can really bring people together. Plus, it’s great exercise too!

ways to meet new people when you move to a different city
Why not take a local cooking class?

Classes

Try taking a class to learn something you are interested it. It’s a double bonus, because not only will you have a chance to make some friends, you’ll also come away with a great new skill.

In most decent sized cities you can find weekend and evening classes offered by the local community center, the college or sometimes independent businesses. Whether you are learning the art of chocolate making, practicing your woodworking skills, becoming fluent in Spanish or brushing up on your public speaking – this is a chance to meet someone who is interested in the same hobbies as you.

meet new people when you move
Couchsurfing isn’t about couches, it’s about meeting locals who are happy to show you around.

Couchsurfing

If you haven’t heard of Courchsurfing yet, it’s a worldwide hospitality network where generous local hosts offer their couch or spare bed to travelers for free. Yup, it’s kind of like Airbnb without the commercial transaction and it can be a really fun way to stay with a local, get to know them and learn more about the culture of where you are visiting.

But even if you already have a place to stay and you don’t need to crash on anyone’s couch, it’s still worth signing up for the Couchsurfing website if you are new somewhere and you want to make friends.

The first reason is for the Meetups. Local groups of Couchsurfing hosts will often organise regular events for hosts and travelers and these can be a great way to meet new people when you are in a city.

Secondly, you can download the app on your phone and try Couchsurfing Hangouts. This is a GPS- powered feature of the app that allows you to see others around you who are open to meeting new people.

meet new people when you move
I LOVE a good pub quiz.

Pub Quizzes

Lee and I are big pub quiz dorks. I mean, what could be more fun than drinking beer and arguing about the name of the ship that picked up the survivors of the Titanic, or whether or not the monotone lyrics the host recited were from a Bruce Springsteen or John Cougar Mellencamp song?

If you like pub quizzes too, they can be a fun way to meet new people when you move. Go by yourself or with your partner and ask one of the medium sized teams if you can join them. It’s no fun playing with a team of one or two, and many other teams will be glad to add more brains to their ranks.

Don’t be intimidated – you don’t have to be particularly clever or knowledgable to enjoy a pub quiz. Even if you only know one or two of the answers, the main point is to socialize and have fun. Often the beer and conversation keeps flowing long after the scores have been tallied and the prizes given out.

Chat with your co-workers over a drink – you might get to know them better.

Work Events

If you are working in your new city, your job might offer events that will give you an opportunity to socialise with your co-workers. There’s probably a good chance that you get along with at least some of your co-workers and you might enjoy hanging out with them.

Getting to know your coworkers outside of work can also make workdays more enjoyable, as you’ll form better relationships with your co-workers and you’ll look forward to seeing them every day.

If you don’t already have a job in your new city – seek out a job that has a social aspect to it so that you will naturally make friends at work.

meet new people when you move
Want more friends? There’s an app for that.

Apps

Another way to make friends and meet new people when you move to a different location is to use an app. After all, we use our smartphones for everything else in our lives – why not this?

I’m not talking about dating apps like Tinder and Bumble (although those are good apps if you are looking to find a friend with benefits). There are apps out there that are just designed for finding platonic buddies. (Here’s a list of some of the most popular ones.)

meet new people when you move to a different city
Make some business connections – and friends – at a conference.

Conferences

Will there be a conference in your field of work coming up soon in the city where you are living? Why not consider attending? You’ll have a chance to get some great insight for your work, and you’ll also get to meet lots of other people.

These networking connections can be great for your career, but they can also turn into friends.

meet new people when you move cities
Check out the next meeting of your local expat group.

Expat Groups

In many cities around the world there will be expat groups, which are designed to bring together expats in the community. InterNations is a good example, but there are many others.

These groups will usually host events and get-togethers, which can be a great opportunity to make friends. Everyone will be in the same boat as you – living and working in a different city and open to meeting new people.

how to make new friends when you move somewhere
Learning a language can be a great way to make friends.

Language Learning Groups

Another great way to meet people when you move to a new city is to participate in a language learning group. You can practice learning the local language by meeting up with native speakers, and you can also help them to practice their English.

Not only is conversation a better way to learn a language, these types of groups a great way to meet people and make friends.

Volunteering is a great way to meet people who care about the same causes you do.

Volunteering

Why not choose a local charity and donate some of your skills and spare time to a good cause? You will have the warm and fuzzy feeling of helping others, and you’ll also have a chance to meet people who care about the same things you do.

It could be walking dogs at a no-kill shelter, spending time with the elderly at a care home, serving the homeless at a soup kitchen, cleaning up a local beach or building houses for families affected by natural disasters… or any other initiative. No matter what you do, you’re bound to get to know some pretty amazing people.

types of travel
Your existing network might be able to link you to new friends.

Your Existing Network

When you move somewhere, check your Facebook connections to see if you already know someone who knows someone who lives there. For example, you might have a cousin or a friend or a friend in your destination. That can be a great place to start, because there’s a connection there already.

Get in touch with them and let them know that you’d like to meet up. They can be a good “first friend” to start with when you move somewhere and they can also introduce you to people and give you tips on where to meet new friends.

meet new people when you move to a different city
You and your kids can get out there and meet some new people.

Kids Activities (If You Have Kids)

If you have little ones, taking them to children’s activities can be a good way to make friends with other parents. Look for children’s festivals, storytime at your local library, children’s theatre and other such events.

Your kids will have a good time and will get a chance to socialize with other children, and you’ll get to chat with other parents. Soon, you’ll have a full calendar of playdates lined up and plenty of other families to hang out with.

Making Friends Isn’t Always Easy – But It’s Worth It

Making friends when you move to a new city can be challenging and it can take a bit of effort. You may have to go outside of your comfort zone and put yourself out there, which might not be your first choice.

Not having many friends where you live can be a little bit stressful and depressing, but try not to bring those feelings into your new friendships. You’ll find it easier to forge new friendships if you approach people with a positive, friendly attitude.

You may even need to try a few of these different approaches until you find something that works. But – in my experience – that effort is totally worth it.

One of the best parts of living abroad is the friendships you form and the people you meet. You never know when you will meet someone who will turn into a lifelong connection.

How do you meet new people when you move abroad? Let us know your tips in the comments!

PS. If you have tried several of these approaches and you aren’t having any luck, you might be living in an area where it’s hard to make friends – due to a number of factors in that particular location and culture. This is a great article about why some locations are more difficult to form friendships in than others – and what you can do.

Related Articles:

How to Find Local Things to Do in Any Travel Destination

How to Keep Up With Your Hobbies During Long Term Travel – And Why You Should

Kelly Dunning

A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word.

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7 Comments

  1. So helpful! My partner and I are planning on doing Working Holiday Visas to the UK next year and these tips are going to come in handy. We’re both quite introverted but I know it’s important for us to make the effort to try and meet new people. Thanks for the suggestions!

    1. Thanks Riana,

      That’s so exciting that you are planning a Working Holiday in the UK! It’s one of my favourite countries in the world and I’m sure you’re going to have a great time. Where in the UK will you be going?

      In my experience, I have found British people to be quite friendly and welcoming, so hopefully you won’t have too much trouble making friends!

      I found the best way to make friends in the UK was to head to the pub. The pub is kind of like the communal living room for a British neighborhood and it is a very social atmosphere. It’s totally socially acceptable to strike up a conversation with the stranger sitting next to you, and you end up mingling and chatting quite naturally. If you start going to the same pub on a regular basis, you’ll get to know the bartender and the locals and you can make some great connections.

      Good luck and have fun!

      1. Dear Kelly…
        That is great when I see you and other people can travel and work other country such UK. travel is really my favorite hobby… We can just watch others can enjoy their life because they born in free country and can enjoy their life. What should we do when we can not take even schingen visa. We didnt choose where to born but we just born in waste place and time. We dont live this life. Im so sorry it was just confabulation… wish you best

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