Moving to a new city can be intimidating, especially if you don’t already know someone else living there.
I still remember when it was time to move into my first place in NYC.
It was such an intimidating time, but thank God I was living in the dorms.
Since I was there for school, it made making friends a lot easier!
Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to move into a building at the same time as a bunch of other people who are new to town.
These days, thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to connect with the people around you.
After you get settled into your new home, download apps like OneRoof, which helps you see if there’s anyone else in your building looking to connect.
My favorite part about finding new friends via OneRoof is that you get to skip having to awkwardly start up your first conversation in public.
There are so many cool people looking for new friends, even if they’ve been living locally for a while.
It can be hard meeting people when you’re in a new city. Trust me, I know.
Now that I’m a global nomad, I’m basically moving to a new city every few weeks or months.
But with all that moving around comes lots of experiences, adventures, and opportunities to make friends in different places.
Lucky for you, I’m writing all my best tips on how to make friends in a new city so that no matter where you’re living, you’ll be able to build your social group.
16 Best Ways to Make Friends in a New City
Download an App
If you’re introverted, striking up a conversation with a new person can be really intimidating. That’s where apps come into play.
Using an app to make friends in a new city is one of my favorite ways to meet and find new buddies.
I’ve made countless friends over the years using apps throughout my travels.
The best part is, you can swipe or respond at basically any hour, which is super convenient after all the time it takes moving to a new city and getting adjusted.
A more recent addition to check out on the app scene is OneRoof.
It’s a really cool app that connects you with neighbors in your building.
Honestly, it’s something I really wish I would’ve had around back when I first moved to NYC at 18 knowing no one.
I love that the app focuses on connecting neighbors in a single large apartment building, instead of covering an entire neighborhood like other apps do.
After all, knowing your neighbors definitely has its advantages, like easy hangs at any time of day, plus it’s always nice being able to ask your neighbors for help anytime you need something, especially if it’s last minute.
Make Friends with Coworkers
Okay, so chances are, along with moving to a new city, you’re also starting a new job.
I know office dynamics can be tricky to figure out, which is why making friends with coworkers is a good thing.
They’ll help you navigate the new office, you’ll have someone to talk to at work, plus they’ll introduce you to other people both in the office and even some people outside of it once you get to know them better.
Connect with Friends of Friends
When hanging out with people in a new city, your motto should always be “the more the merrier”.
Hanging with friends of friends gives you the chance to expand your social circle.
After all, chances are if you both like hanging with your mutual friend, you’ll probably enjoy hanging with each other.
I’ve made so many wonderful pals over the years meeting friends of friends at parties.
Join a Facebook Group
Okay, I know this sounds like something meant for your parents, who still think Facebook is cool, but hear me out.
Facebook Groups can be a great way to meet people, because there’s literally a group for like every situation imaginable.
Search terms for moving to whatever city you’ve landed in. Or even just search the city or town and see what popular Facebook Groups generate for you to look at.
Once you’re in a few groups, check to see if there’s any upcoming events, or conversations on the feed that you can jump into.
Meet Your Neighbors on the OneRoof App
We all grew up watching the close-knit group of neighbors in Friends.
If you’re like me, you imagined one day moving to a new city and having that same lifestyle, with your besties just a hallway or building away.
Turns out, it’s tough to meet your neighbors, especially when you’re in a city where nobody has time for a relaxed chat in the elevator or common room.
I was in the city about seven years before I finally became friends with one of my neighbors.
The only reason we even met was because she was bold enough to strike up a conversation one night after she locked herself out of the building (I was the one who buzzed her back in).
These days, apps make it easier than ever to skip the awkward attempts at starting a first conversation with your new neighbors.
Use the OneRoof App to connect with others in your building, and arrange meetups around the neighborhood, or in a common room in your building.
Since you’ve all got the same taste in building and neighborhood, chances are you’ve got more in common as well.
Plus, hanging with neighbors is easy for when you want to hang out but have a lazy day, or grab a late night drink, because you can easily just meet up in the lobby and go.
The best part is once you meet just one neighbor, chances are you’ll end up making even more friends in town through them.
Not to mention, if they’ve lived there longer than you, they’ll have some fabulous delivery and dining recommendations in the neighborhood.
If you find that your building isn’t already a part of the community, head to OneRoof’s website to become a Super Neighbor.
Basically, this means you’ll be at the center of inviting your neighbors to join the OneRoof community. You’ll get to help plan building activities, strike up conversations, and get access to exclusive events and partnerships.
It’s the perfect way to break the ice and become the social director of a new group of friends in your building.
Go to the Farmer’s Market
I love going to farmer’s markets when I’m in a new city.
It’s the perfect weekend ritual that leaves me with a stocked fridge, beautiful flowers, and, ideally, some new friends.
Heading to the market is also a great way to catch up with an old buddy or hang out with a new one. There’s little pressure since you’re both shopping, and it’s an easy exit if you don’t vibe.
The best part is that people are really chatty at farmer’s markets, making it a great place to chat up possible new friends.
Chat Up Local Shop Owners
Shopping locally is something I make a point of doing while I travel, and especially while I’m in my local neighborhood.
Your purchase means way more to a local business than it ever would to a corporation, plus by supporting local businesses, you’ll be able to chat up the shop owners, who likely know all the pleasant spots plus basically everyone in the neighborhood.
Get a Dog
Full disclaimer, getting a dog, or any pet, is a massive responsibility and commitment. If you can’t commit to taking care of a pet for their entire life, then you’ll want to skip this one.
If you’re at the right point in life to commit to a lifelong furry best friend, do it now.
They’ll keep you company when you’re lonely, and you’ll see lots of your new city while you’re out walking together.
Plus, assuming they are a total cutie, you’ll also have tons of people stopping you on the street or in the park to chat it up.
Also, dogs are like people, so don’t be surprised if soon your pup has a bunch of besties at the park and you’re chilling with the other dog parents as the fur babies play.
Throw a Housewarming Party
Okay, I know throwing a housewarming party in a city where you don’t know anyone, or maybe just a few people can feel weird.
But it’s a great way to socialize a month or two into your move.
Ask any new friends or acquaintances in town to come over and request they all to bring a friend or two they think you might vibe with.
This way it’s a win-win. You’ll get to hang with your friend and you’ll get to meet more new people. Not to mention your party will look a lot more happening with some extra possible new friends in attendance.
Join a Club
Clubs aren’t just for kids, they’re for adults too!
Join a country club, book club, or even a running club.
You can search Facebook or Google, or use bulletin boards at the local shops to find the perfect club for you.
Just look for a cool group of people that like similar things to you, and if you can’t find the right group, consider forming your own.
After all, chances are there’s at least one other person in town who will share your similar interest.
Go to Local Events
Grab a local paper, or hit up the local community or building website, to find their upcoming events calendar.
Most cities, and even towns, have at least one or two big events a month. So spot something you’d like to check out and plan to attend.
Bonus points if you ask your coworkers or neighbors to join you on a group outing!
Take a Class
Since you’re in a new city, why not also add a new skill to your resume?
Take that art or exercise class you’ve always wanted to try. Then, while you’re there, chat up some of the surrounding people.
It may take a few classes, but if you keep being friendly, you might just find a friend to grab a coffee or smoothie with after class.
Some popular classes that most cities have are:
- Dance class
- Pottery class
- Painting class
- Spin class
- Yoga class
- Cooking class
- Wine tasting class
Giving back, especially in a new community, is a great way to make friends in a new place.
Find a charity or cause you really care about, and sign up to help them out.
Chances are you’ll arrive and meet other like-minded people, all of whom probably have hearts of gold, since they’re also volunteering.
Some popular places to volunteer include:
- Animal shelter
- Soup kitchen
- Nursing home
- Homeless shelter
- Religious or spiritual community
- Local nonprofit
- Food pantry
Get a Roommate
Most people get roommates because they can’t afford a place or neighborhood on their own, but some people do it just because it’s an easy way to make friends in a new city.
That’s right, embrace the unknown and consider splitting an apartment with a new potential friend.
I have mates who will just find a roommate for the first six months in a new city, with the sole purpose of building a possible friend group.
This way they might make friends with their new roomie, or one of the roomie’s friends.
Plus, you’ll have time to adjust to the new job, and scope out neighborhoods for a more permanent solo apartment set up.
There are tons of places to find a roommate, including some of these popular spots:
Chat People Up on IG
Okay, I know this one sounds strange, and sometimes it is, but it also works.
Anytime I’m going to be in a new city and want a friend to go take photos with, I search through the most recently geotagged locations on Instagram.
Then I identify the profiles of people who look like they have similar interests.
Once I do that, I’ll shoot them a random message basically saying I’m new, and I know it’s random, but would they want to hang out or shoot content together?
Half the time people don’t answer, but sometimes they do and end up being really cool.
I’ve met a few great people on IG this year alone, and about a handful have become fantastic friends.
It’s a wonderful tool for connecting with people if you use it correctly.
Go Out Solo
Going out to eat solo is one of my least favorite activities, which is shocking considering how much I have to do it while I travel solo.
I hate sitting there without someone to chat with, especially if I’m at a table and not somewhere communal like a bar.
Over time, I’ve developed my go-to crutches for dining solo, like bringing a book or journal to occupy my attention while I eat.
Or if I’m in a social mood, choosing to request to dine at the bar.
It’s an easy way to low key chat up the bartender, who will probably introduce you to other regulars as time goes on.
You can also just spend the day on a sightseeing or food tour in your new city.
While you’re out, attempt to connect with others doing the same thing. Maybe you’ll even get lucky and meet another person who’s just moved.
The whole point is, just because your adventure starts out solo, doesn’t mean it needs to end alone.
Final Advice on Meeting People in a New City
I know how hard making friends in a new city can be, and I hope this helps you connect with others around you in your new hometown.
Remember, you truly never know where you’re going to meet the next person who’s going to connect with you and your passions.
It may sound cheesy, but just always remember to say yes to new social opportunities.
Some of my best friends started out as classmates, neighbors, coworkers, app matches, and social media friends.
I promise your next bestie is just around the corner—especially if they end up being a neighbor you met on OneRoof.