When you’re feeling lonely, friends, unfortunately, won’t just come knocking at the door. You may want to meet new people, but hanging around bars or socializing with coworkers doesn’t work.
Perhaps it’s time to ask yourself: how am I spending my free time?
Hobbies are scientifically proven to reduce stress, improve brain function, and create more social connections.
But not just any hobby will help you meet people. Learning to code websites or doing puzzles can be great pastimes, but they probably won’t land you a bunch of new friends.
Social hobbies, on the other hand, merge conversation with activities.
Taking up a new social hobby is like a triple-win:
- Learn a new skill
- Be more interesting
- Meet like-minded people
Instead, here are 33 social hobbies that can help you connect with others.
What are social hobbies?
Social hobbies are leisurely pastimes that emphasize interactions with fellow humans. They create an atmosphere where people can comfortably come together to learn and develop new skills while enjoying conversation and connection.
Instead of just standing around awkwardly trying to chit chat, social hobbies facilitate more casual, free-flowing conversations while you focus on a task at hand.
Statistically, a lack of social connection is as health-harming as obesity, smoking, or alcoholism. Participating in social hobbies improves your overall health and even helps you age more gracefully.
Social Hobbies for Adults
Starting new hobbies as an adult can feel awkward or even intimidating. The great thing about clubs, classes, and groups is that everyone is in the same boat. They’re likely showing up for the same reasons as you: to meet new people, get better at a skill, and enjoy their free time.
Host a Game Night
Game nights are one of the best ways to connect with neighbors or new friends. You can get nerdy with Settlers of Catan, think quickly on your toes with Taboo, stay kid-friendly with Sushi Go!, or laugh your buts off at inappropriate humor in Cards Against Humanity.
Action Tip: Check out our ultimate list of The 30 Best Games to Play with Every Kind of Friend. Choose the best game for your friend group, plan the snacks/drinks/ambiance, and send an invite to host an epic game night.
Learn a Language
Learning to speak a new language requires, uh… speaking it. If you’ve ever tried to learn Spanish, Italian, or Japanese on your own and it didn’t stick, your socially-wired mind was probably just craving someone to practice (and laugh) with.
Research shows that cooperative language learning is the most effective way to learn a new language. It’s also linked to longer-term retention and higher self-esteem amongst language learners.
Resources: Practice the basics with cheap conversation classes on a site like italki, then find a language learning meetup or language learning club near you.
Attend Workshops or Conferences
Whether you’re into entrepreneurship, homesteading, art, cryptocurrency, or psychology, there are conferences for everything under the sun. Each seminar, discussion, and happy hour is another opportunity to meet people who came to learn more about the same things you’re interested in.
Resources: Use Eventbrite, Resurchify’s Event Portal, or AllConferences.com to find an upcoming conference that sparks your interest.
Action Tip: If you want to be a pro-networker at conferences, make an intriguing name badge, print some business cards, and practice your context-specific conversation starters ahead of time.
Yoga and Acro Yoga Classes
The physical and mental health benefits of yoga seem to read like a long extravagant sales commercial: more flexibility, less back pain, less stress and anxiety, and a more positive mood.
But you don’t often hear about the social benefits of yoga. When you’re all blissed out after getting your zen on, somehow, it’s just a little bit easier to talk to people.
While regular yoga isn’t necessarily a social sport, partner yoga or “acro-yoga” combines acrobatics, fitness, and social connection. And contrary to popular belief, it’s not only couples! These are welcoming, free-spirited communities where you can connect and learn a cool new skill (with some fun photo-ops).
Resources: Find a certified acro-yoga teacher, take a local partner yoga class or check out an acro yoga Meetup.
Swing, salsa, ballroom, tango, bachata, contra- whatever dance style you choose, this is a hobby where you don’t have to overthink what you’re going to say.
If you feel socially awkward, you’ll be glad to know that most dance classes encourage dancing with as many people as possible, so you don’t have to overthink which dance partner you’ll pick next.
As a teacher or dance partner guides you through the steps, your body can let loose and flow with the music. When everyone takes a break to chat, you may find that you feel right at home.
Action Tip: Dance classes are the perfect laboratory for studying body language. Learn the basics of body language 101, so you can take your decoding skills from the dance floor out into your social life.
Writers Groups and Workshops
You don’t have to be a world-class poet or published author to take up writing. Writer’s groups are often humble gatherings of casual storytellers seeking a creative outlet.
Writing can be surprisingly intimate because it touches on many deep human emotions and experiences. If you choose to read your work aloud, you may find that your fellow writers identify with your work and want to discuss it after.
Resources: Explore local coffee shops, Facebook Groups, Meetup.com, or type into Google “writer’s group in [your city]” or “gateless writing salon near me” to find events in your area.
You may think of woodworkers as older men alone in their garage building cabinets or birdhouses. But modern woodworking classes and collaborative building spaces make this hobby more accessible and social than ever. Think high school woodshop class meets adult social hour. Plus, it includes all the equipment and safety training!
Resources: If you don’t want to invest in a whole shop of carpentry equipment, look for a local woodworking school or a “maker space” where you can pay an affordable membership fee to use a shared shop space to hone your craft and meet other woodworkers.
Join a Band or Take Music Classes
Music is scientifically proven to facilitate deeper social bonding. Whether singing or playing in a band, there’s just something about getting on the beat together. And the best thing about music is that you don’t have to be an expert at an instrument to get started.
Action Tip: Join a school or church choir, search musical classifieds like Bandmix or Join-A-Band, or Google “group music lessons for adults” to find a nearby music school.
For the intellectually savvy, old-school trivia is a fun way to test your knowledge of random facts while getting in some good laughs and conversations. Traditionally hosted in local pubs, trivia teams can compete against each other to test their smarts in a niche or broad topics.
Resources: Find a trivia meetup at a local pub, bar, or brewery.
If you want to get messy and feel like you’re in a colorful video game, paintballing is an exciting competitive team sport perfect for amateurs. Look for a community indoor or outdoor paintball facility to try out this group activity and hone your paint-shooting skills.
Outdoor Social Hobbies
Natural areas are a rejuvenating escape from the hustle and bustle of cities. Add some extra adventure by finding other nature-lovers to experience the great outdoors with you.
Although Muir had some solitary poetic musings in the woods, solo wilderness hiking isn’t always the safest or most fun. Group hiking, on the other hand, is the perfect opportunity for experiencing all the health benefits of time in nature while socializing with people who enjoy the trees and mountains as much as you do.
Resources: Check out this guide to find or organize a group hike, join a hiking club, or visit a nature center where you can connect with fellow hikers.
In light of the growing farm-to-table movement and post-pandemic revitalization of “Victory Gardens,” community garden plots can be found tucked into even the most crowded corners of big cities. Studies have found that community gardening leads to more social support and stronger bonds between neighbors.
Action Tip: Get your hands dirty and learn how to start an organic garden from scratch. You can rent a plot at a nearby community garden or start a front or back yard garden of your own. Invite your friends over for work parties, taste the food, and share the harvest when summer comes around!
Do you know those people with binoculars staring at the trees at local state parks? That’s the birdwatching crew, and they happen to be a pretty poppin’ crowd. Some 50 million Americans participate in birdwatching as a hobby.
Learn to identify beautiful birds and connect with regional ecosystems. Birdwatching is a recreational activity for those who love connecting with the environment and learning about wildlife.
Plus, it’s pretty inexpensive to get started: you just need your eyes and some cheap binoculars. Maybe later, you’ll invest in a bird identification guide and a camera with a zoom lens.
Resources: Use the National Audubon Society’s mini-guide on How to Meet Other Birders and peruse the American Birding Associations’ Birding Clubs and Organizations database.
Take a Foraging Course
Foraging is learning to identify and harvest edible wild plants and fungi. Luckily, it’s not as intimidating or dangerous as it sounds. Expert foragers exist everywhere, and they’re typically pretty excited to share their passion. If you’re into botany, food, cocktails, or herbalism, you’ll find a lovely crowd at a local foraging class.
Resources: Use the FindaForager.com database, search Airbnb foraging Experiences, or try the hashtag #forage[your city] on social media.
Attend a Gathering
For the more hippie-spirited folks, gatherings are an intriguing way to meet people and learn simultaneously. Sometimes there are drum circles, dancing, and bonfires. There are musical events, food trucks, and family-friendly activities.
Check out a regional Earthskills Gathering to learn about primitive skills like fire making, herbal medicine, wood carving, and hide tanning. Or attend a Hippie Fest to check out a bohemian marketplace and enjoy live music.
Go to Festivals
Festivals aren’t only for music, partying, and setting things on fire (though Burning Man could be an incredible experience if you’re into that sort of thing). There are also festivals for food, wine, boats, vintage clothes, and almost anything else.
In contrast to conferences, festivals tend to be more celebratory and laidback- perfect for bringing your friends or finding new ones!
Search Festivals.com, FairsAndFestivals.net, or your local Eventbrite to find a fest that fits your vibe.
Athletic Social Hobbies
Exercise contagion explains how fitness-related hobbies are contagious. If your friends run, you’re more likely to run. If you play sports, you’re more likely to have friends that play sports. It’s a positively compounding effect that ultimately results in healthier, more active friend groups!
Putting on your running shoes and hitting the pavement takes more discipline than most people realize. Fortunately, runners are just about everywhere, and they’ve created clubs, races, and group training sessions to help keep you motivated.
Resources: Learn more about running clubs’ work and peruse the Road Runners Club of America to find a group or club near you.
These days there is a workout class for every type of fitness imaginable. From spin classes to kickboxing to Zumba to HIIT to hot yoga and beyond, joining a fitness class is good for your health and social network. You can find a group to hold you accountable to your goals while simultaneously rooting you on and maybe even grabbing smoothies together afterward.
Action Step: Join a gym, YMCA, Orange Theory, or local fitness studio. Try out a few different classes and commit to attending one type of fitness class every week for a month. Make it a point to talk to at least one new classmate after each workout. Just like meeting fitness goals, consistency is key for building friendships.
Adult Sports Leagues
When you were a kid, didn’t it feel like life handed your friends to you on a silver platter? You had built connections because of sports, school, and extracurricular activities.
The same can be true for an adult- it just takes a bit more effort on your part. Join an adult recreational league playing soccer, basketball, baseball, volleyball, tennis, golf, or whatever sport gets your heart racing (and maybe feeling a bit like a kid again).
Check out local classifieds or Google “[sport] adult leagues near [your city].
You don’t often see solo bikers on the road. They ride in big groups because it’s safer and more fun. Cycling is an increasingly popular sport that’s incredible for your cardiovascular fitness and going on new adventures with friends.
Resources: Find a cycling group Meetup, head to your local bicycle shop, sign up for a bike race, or use an app like Velodash to find fellow cyclists and biking events near you.
Outdoor adventure meets indoor training and fitness. Even if there aren’t any mountains near you, rock climbing gyms are popping up worldwide.
Resources: Search the rock climbing gym listings IndoorClimbing.com or Mountain Project. If you want to try some outdoor climbs, search for rock climbing Meetups or hang out in some classic “dirt bagger” (nomad/climber/adventure/van life folks) spots like Utah, Colorado, and Oregon.
Social Hobbies for Introverts
Contrary to popular belief, introverts still need social interaction like any other human. You may prefer to socialize in small groups or one-on-one. And finding time to recharge in between (or during) social events is a must. Here are some social hobbies
How is something “solo” considered “social”?
First, consider that it’s easier to meet people as a solo traveler. Locals and other solo travelers are more likely to approach you simply because you’re not in a group.
Second, you have more freedom to stay in hostels, experience local culture, take public transport/rideshares, or spontaneously go out with a new friend without the constraints of having a family or group along for the ride.
Use an app like SoloTraveller, Backpackr, or Eatwith to make socializing easier while traveling.
Believe it or not, chess clubs are a thriving scene in most cities worldwide. People of all ages still gather to play this 1,400-year-old game of strategy, problem-solving, and sportsmanship. Playing chess is linked to above-average intelligence, but it also presents an opportunity for introverts to connect with others in a low-pressure social setting.
Brush up on your chess etiquette and find a chess club or chess tournament.
Socializing doesn’t always mean talking. Some surprising research has uncovered that people who speak less during social interactions enjoy themselves more.
Going to the movies or hosting a movie night at your house are two simple ways to spend time with people without feeling the pressure to hold a conversation constantly. Plus, when the movie finishes, you’ll have plenty of topics to discuss!
Action Tip: When you watch a movie, be more intentional with your engagement in the film. Instead of constantly checking your phone, pay special attention to specific characters, life lessons, and the artistry behind the scenes. Learn more about the active versus the passive way of watching a movie so you’ll have better conversations afterward:
Did you know that people’s brain waves sync together during group meditations? You get to meet people on the same wavelength without talking at all!
If you’ve heard about all the benefits of meditation but never felt the motivation to do it yourself, a meditation group or class can be a rewarding way to connect with spiritually-minded people while creating the zen habit we probably all need.
Attend meditation class, group meditation meetup, or visit a meditation center in your area. Try Google keywords like “group meditation [your city]” or “beginner meditation class near [your town].”
Visiting Museums and Exhibits
One of an introvert’s many superpowers is their keen eye for observation. Visiting art museums or science exhibits with one or two like-minded friends is a unique opportunity to explore how you each view the world in different ways.
You can enjoy peace as you peruse exhibits yet still reap all the benefits of spending time with other people.
Look up the best art museums and science exhibitions in your city, then invite a friend or two for a day trip.
Pro Tip: Learn to be more social as an introvert with these 10 science-backed steps.
Inexpensive Social Hobbies
When you don’t have much extra cash to spend on going out and socializing, there are plenty of cheap or free social hobbies.
Psychologists have found that volunteering creates a shared social identity and sense of belonging amongst volunteers. Whether you feel called to feed the homeless, walk shelter dogs, or pick up litter on the beach, coordinating with others toward a common goal is an easy way to find a crowd that you identify with.
Resources: Search VolunteerMatch, Habitat for Humanity, or UnitedWay to find a volunteer opportunity aligned with your interests and talents.
Does reading count as socializing? Actually, yes. Book clubs are lively discussion groups where you can discuss a controversial topic, gawk at a juicy novel or explore an intriguing biography that you may not have read otherwise. You read the group-selected book on your own time and then attend a weekly or bi-weekly meetup to spark conversation around intellectually-stimulating topics and stories.
Action Tip: Use this guide to find a book club or start your own. Then, choose one of the best self-improvement books of all time and invite friends interested in personal growth to read along with you. Create a meeting schedule, research or write some discussion questions, and don’t forget the snacks and refreshments!
Sort of like a global treasure hunt, geocaching is a fun activity for kids and adults alike. People hide all sorts of random items in different places. They create a community by using GPS clues to get fellow geocachers to find the treasure.
Resource: Download the Geocaching app, create an account, and learn everything you know about finding some pirate’s booty and sharing in the community experience.
Creative Social Hobbies
Group Cooking Classes
Who doesn’t love to eat? Food has brought people together since the beginning of humankind. Studies have also shown that cooking with others significantly improves social connections, helps people eat healthier, and fosters a sense of community.
Resources: Peruse Airbnb Experiences or local classifieds like Yelp to find cooking classes nearby. If you want to stay in, invite friends and use a site like CozyMeal for a virtual cooking class with international chefs.
Knitting or Sewing Club
Ever wish you had something to do with your hands while you socialize? Learn an old-fashioned handcraft like knitting or sewing and join a crafters club. You may end up with some unique beanies, socks, scarves, and plenty of friends to swap yarn and fabrics with.
Resources: Ask the owner of a locally-owned yarn store or sewing shop about any local knitting groups. You can also visit a craft store like JOANN or Michaels to explore upcoming in-store knitting or sewing class options.
If you already have a creative outlet like singing, playing an instrument, standup comedy, or slam poetry, visit a local open mic to get on stage in a casual, supportive setting. Open mics don’t usually require pre-registration or a fee, but each is independently organized, so check with your local event organizers.
Resources: Check your local coffee shop or bar bulletin boards, Google “open mic near me,” or search Eventbrite for poetry readings and musical open mics.
Pottery and Art Classes
Pottery and art classes aren’t just for children. Evolutionary scientists have found artistic and creative expression historically linked to reinforcing social bonds and community across age groups. There is undoubtedly something special about morphing earthen clay into a mug or turning watercolors into a painting alongside fellow creatives.
Find an art studio, Wine & Paint event, or pottery class near you, and invite a few friends. Even if you aren’t naturally creative, you may be surprised what beautiful creations emerge amidst good friends and casual conversation.
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Key Takeaways: Social Hobbies
If networking events and talking to people at bars makes you cringe, you may want to try socializing in a lower-pressure setting. Hobbies may sound overwhelming, but they can give you something to do while connecting with others.
When you’re looking for a social hobby, pay attention to what naturally magnetizes you:
- If you enjoy learning new things, consider dance classes, acro yoga, language courses, or attending workshops.
- If you love the outdoors, hiking, community gardening, birdwatching clubs, or festivals may be your cup of tea!
- If you don’t have much money, try volunteering, joining a book club, or geocaching with a friend.
- If you’re athletic, a running club, adult sports league, or fitness class may be calling your name.
- If you’re an introvert, solo travel, movie nights, meditation groups, and museums can be great ways to socialize without so much emphasis on conversation.
- If you want to get creative, sign up for group cooking classes, a sewing club, an open mic, or art classes.
New friends aren’t just going to come knocking at your door. Here are 50 Ways You Can Meet New People in ANY City!