There are eight million people and dozens of dating apps to keep you glued to your phone, but it can still be tricky to make friends IRL. We’re here to help—here’s how to meet new people in NYC, with 50 activities that are all so much better than sitting at home and swiping on Bumble BFF. Whether you want to meet singles, find someone else who will join you to take the coolest classes in NYC or just escape your obnoxious roommate, you’ll find something on this list. Netflix can wait.
How to meet new people in NYC
Since it opened in 2010, the Brainery has acted as a hub for folks who want to sate their curiosity about food, history, or any number of quirky topics. Small class sizes make it easy to chat with other attendees, and more hands-on workshops encourage interaction among participants. This winter, the Brainery will open a new classroom in Prospect Heights that will also function as a coworking space, further helping nerdy types meet and mingle. 515 Court St at 9th St, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (brooklynbrainery.com). New space opening TBA.—Amy Plitt
Young Philanthropists at the Bowery Mission
Launched in 2008, this initiative from the venerable shelter brings together professionals in their twenties and thirties looking to make a difference in downtown Manhattan. Think of it as networking, only way more productive and valuable. In addition to throwing an annual summer fund-raiser, the Young Philanthropists organize projects and events to assist homeless people and at-risk youth, such as coat drives. The group’s latest effort is serving meals to the homeless community at the Bowery Mission in the East Village. To join in, e-mail email@example.com. 227 Bowery between Rivington and Stanton Sts (212-684-2800, ext 152; bowery.org/donate/youngphilanthropists).—Jenna Scherer
Tour the Brooklyn Brewery
Williamsburg's craft-beer facility offers reservation-only small batch brewery tours (Mon–Thu 5–7pm; $8) and free general tours on Saturday and Sunday (see website for details). You can also sample beer in the tasting room.
For more drinking classes in New York, click here.
Secret Science Club
If your current pals don’t share your interest in the nuances of astrophysics, join up with the devotees of the Secret Science Club. Organizers Margaret Mittelbach, Dorian Devins and Michael Crewdson created a free monthly lecture series for scientists to discuss dinosaurs, neuroscience, black holes and other scholarly topics with upwards of 300 attendees. After each event’s Q&A session, there’s plenty of time for socializing with your fellow nerds. • secretscienceclub.blogspot.com.Various dates; free.
Drink N’ Draw
Let your artistic side and inhibitions go free every Wednesday night at cowork space Bat Haus’s Drink N’ Draw. The $10 admission price gets you all-you-can-drink Brooklyn Brewery beers and two hours of figure drawing with a live nude model. Exchange artistic tips with your fellow participants and after you’re done showing yours if they show theirs, maybe plan a follow-up freind-date at Bushwick’s emerging art gallery scene. Wed 8pm-10:30pm at Bat Haus; $10.
For more art classes in New York, click here.
Brewshop 101 at Bitter & Esters
Learn to make your own craft beer at this two-hour workshop. Instructors will teach you about malt, hops, yeast and styles, then you can chat with classmates and sample a few pints for inspiration before starting on your own creation. The intro course is aone-session deal, so make the most of the preclass socializing time. 700 Washington Ave between Prospect Pl and St. Marks Ave, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (bitterandesters.com). Schedule varies; single class $55.—Rebecca Fishbein
Get sporty with an LGBT crowd
Big Apple Recreational Sports
You know that old movie cliché of gay and lesbian characters being harassed in the locker room? Well, nobody has to worry about that with the Big Apple Sports leagues which are comprised of team members that all either identify as LGBTQI or as allies. Cut loose over kickball, dodgeball or bowling with like-minded folks in a friendly and accepting environment. Various locations and prices, http://bigapplerecsports.com
Shows at the Magnet Theater
This dedicated comedy theater exudes a distinctly Chicago vibe, from its DIY aesthetic to its performers, many of whom are former denizens of the Windy City. Even the local players prefer theatrical or character-driven improv to the premise-based variety, and they put their love of the craft before any professional interests.
For more acting classes in New York, click here.
Yoga to the People
“There will be no correct clothes; there will be no right answers; no glorified teachers…” reads the mantra for Yoga to the People, a studio in the East Village. Owners Greg and Andrea Riggs opened the space to provide yoga as a service to all, regardless of one’s financial means. The egalitarian studio accepts only donations ($10 suggested) for its daily 60-minute power-vinyasa classes, but as Greg Riggs emphasized during a recent session, “There’s no pressure: contribute within your means.” He’s also quick to say of his experiences elsewhere, “The business of yoga was superseding the spirit of yoga—many people couldn’t afford a steady practice.” It does feel almost as harried as speed-dating, but what can you expect for free? If you arrive early to meditate and leave right after shivasina you'll avoid the crowds entirely.
For more dancing classes in New York, click here.
Shopping at Sprout Home
Founder Tara Heibel tapped employee Tassy de Give to open this New York branch of her Chicago store in 2007. Weiss ceramic planters ($10–$100) hang from the ceiling of the sprawling, well-lit shop, where locals convene for free classes on creating floral arrangements (materials $50–$300). Even if you’re not DIY savvy, you can still leave with something equally charming, such as Tesoros stainless-steel cups hand-painted with floral accents ($36), Seletti porcelain milk-carton vases ($17) and hanging glass globe terrariums ($14–$19). To bring a piece of nature indoors, head to Sprout’s neighboring floral shop, where arrangements start at $50 and can incorporate anything from French tulips to seasonal branches.