Metro Atlanta is a growing metropolis with nearly 500,000 residents in the city alone. Meeting people and making friends or finding colleagues with common interests isn't as tough as some other cities, like New York or even Los Angeles. Front porches, backyards, and months of temperate weather force Atlantans out of their bungalows, encouraging plenty of social interaction. Therefore, meeting people can happen every day. Apartment and condo dwellers, however, may encounter a few challenges that homeowners don't have. But no worries – there is still a bevy of ways to connect with neighbors and coworkers. Here are some practical and easy ways to meet new people in Atlanta.
1. Use the Beltline
This vast urban redevelopment project features 22 miles of trails and beautiful urban green space connecting 45 in-town neighborhoods. Count on tons of city folks walking, running, biking, and stopping at various areas of the city along the way. Using the paths could be a great way to meet likeminded and active people, as well as get you out and about for some fresh air and exercise. Head to brunch on the weekend, followed by an excursion strolling the Atlanta Beltline where you can burn a few calories and mingle with locals at the same time.
2. Visit Piedmont Park
As the primary public park in the city with approximately 185 acres, Piedmont Park draws Midtown residents for exercising, picnicking, dog walking, and more. If you live in the area, it's a no brainer; you can easily walk there. But even if you come from a nearby neighborhood or OTP (outside the perimeter), it's a snap to drive and park on the surrounding streets, especially Myrtle and 10th Street. On sunny weekend days, free parking may be scarce, but paid parking is available in the lot on Monroe Drive or the Atlanta Botanical Gardens lot. Use the park to mix with locals and maybe make a new friend or two.
3. Join a Meetup
Meetup is a fantastic tool, helping build communities at the local level. Network to advance your career, pursue a new pastime, explore the city, or meet new people in Atlanta. Meetups range from photo workshops to Egyptian yoga to foodie and chef events to singles mixers. Wherever your interests lie, you'll find a meetup specifically for you, and have an opportunity to introduce yourself to new people in the process.
4. Check Eventbrite for events
Similar to Meetup, Eventbrite curates happenings in major cities, and Atlanta has a lot going on every day of the week. Try using eventbrite.com to find exciting (and fun) events in the City of Atlanta. While some events require you to purchase tickets, others are absolutely free! The website makes it super easy to find events and buy tickets or register online.
5. Socialize in the right bars and restaurants
The food and drink scene in Atlanta is diverse, offering cuisines that span the globe, locally brewed beer, world-class wines, and inventive cocktails. Pick a new spot every week, grab a friend, or dine alone at the bar. Sitting by yourself will force you to meet to new people, and some could be candidates for friendship, companionship, or even romance. Be open-minded and step beyond your comfort zone – over time, you will reap the benefits and probably find yourself a new buddy or two.
6. Join the Atlanta Social Club
"Happy, healthy, and helping" constitute the mission of this all-women venture. A private group, the Atlanta Social Club aims to connect women through fitness, charity, and social events, helping them unite and form lasting friendships. Start by joining the Facebook group, and follow the happenings on the Atlanta Social Club page. And don't worry guys – men can join the Coed Atlanta Social Club so that they won't feel left out.
7. Network with Colleagues
Don't be a stick in the mud! If coworkers head out to dinner or drinks after work and invite you – go along. Skip the workout once in a while and opt for pure pleasure instead. Mixing with work friends is one of the best ways to meet new people, and work colleagues can also introduce you to their friends, so you could find yourself with an entirely new social circle. (Skipping the gym brings me to my next point, which is working out.)
8. Join a gym
If you're a fitness fanatic, you'll probably want to meet other health-conscious individuals, and joining a gym is the best option to find those people. Favorite Atlanta workout facilities include X3 Sports in Inman Park, CrossFit in Midtown, Best Fitness by Pharr in Buckhead, and The Training Room in Virginia-Highland. But there are countless other gyms throughout the city, whether you prefer yoga, kickboxing, Pilates, or working up a sweat with a basic exercise session.
No matter which city you call home, volunteering brings the chance to meet people in a new city and help others in the process. The website HandsonAtlanta.org keeps a running list of volunteer opportunities such as caring for trees in the Atlanta Downtown Improvement district, after-school tutoring in low-income communities, and meal packing for Open Hand Atlanta. Other nonprofits needing a helping hand include the Atlanta Humane Society (caring for animals), Hosea Helps (feeding the homeless), and ForeverFamily (readying children for visits with their mothers in prison).