Although we're pretty lucky to have access to hundreds of singles on all of these dating apps out there, it's important to take a break from online dating from time to time. Maybe you’ve been swiping right on singles in your area for a while now, but it’s not hitting the same as it used to. Maybe you’ve found that making small talk over text is exhausting, and exchanging Snapchat usernames isn’t the meet-cute you hoped it would be. If you’re tempted to delete your dating apps all together but aren’t sure how to meet men or women IRL, then it’s possible you’re just not looking in the right places.
Not everyone wants their “how we met” story to be a “we both swiped right” story, and it all starts with knowing where to go. While it’s much easier to chill in your room and respond to a text from your potential crush while simultaneously brushing your teeth, watching a show, or making dinner, meeting people outside of dating apps takes a little more effort. You’ll want to head out on a morning coffee run before work, go on a park outing with your mutual friends, and get involved in a community program. If you meet someone, then you’ll have something to connect on instantly — whether it be the drink you order, the snacks you like, or the reason why you’re volunteering your time. You’ll be able to see if your personalities click, if they have a good sense of humor, and if you’re attracted to them.
If you don’t meet someone, then focus on having the new experience, which only makes you a more interesting and worldly person. “Hunting for romance is guaranteed to be frustrating,” relationship expert and Allowing Magnificence author Susan Winter tells Elite Daily. “Do what you love. Whether that's volleyball, swimming, walking your dog, or going to a museum — be in the moment and live the life you love (for yourself). That's the best formula to attract a partner without trying to do so.”
After being out and about, you may come to the realization that dating apps are your jam, and that’s totally fine, too. Just start by putting yourself out there at these 20 places to meet men or women, and see where the journey takes you.
It may seem a little clichéd, but a restaurant is an easy place to meet somebody. People who are dining out are usually in a social mood already, and they may just be open to the idea of meeting a person in between their appetizer and entrée being served.
The situation can go down one of three ways: You can send someone you’re interested in a drink with the help of their server, you can strike up a conversation with a person who’s table is very close to yours à la Emily in Paris, or you can write your number on your receipt if you think your waiter is cute AF. There’s no guarantee that you’ll leave the restaurant with love in tow, but some people may appreciate your confidence in the moment.
Coffee Shop Line
On a weekday morning, waiting in line at a coffee shop can be the worst, since you have places to be and people to see. But on a chill weekend morning, getting your go-to cold brew can be a lovely opportunity to meet someone. You’re both standing near the counter and likely looking for a way to pass time. What better way than to strike up a convo, and maybe exchange numbers if it goes well?
To get things started, you could compliment their outfit, ask them what they like to order, or say something witty like, “Hey, if I buy a brownie will you eat half?” Love is never guaranteed, but you’ll eventually get your drink nonetheless.
The universe may give back to you while you give back to your community. However, you have to sign up for a day delivering meals, cleaning up the park, or taking care of pets at your local animal shelter first. While you’re there, you may meet a single person who’s not only interested in you but is passionate about the same thing you are.
The perk of this type of meet-cute is that, right from the get-go, you’ll have something deep and meaningful to chat about. You’ll know they care about the world and helping it in any way possible. In this situation, you can keep the connection going by mentioning another event you’ll be at and asking if they’d like to join you.
Working remotely from a café? Don’t be afraid to chat with the person who set up their laptop nearby. While they may be super busy responding to emails and tackling work projects, they may also want to take a break and sip a smoothie with fellow hard worker.
You could talk about the tastiest items on the menu, what you do for work, or other places you like to work besides your home office. By the time you leave, you may have a new remote work buddy... or a new love interest to text once you’ve signed off for the day.
Don’t underestimate the matchmaking powers of the dog park. Not only is it a great place for your pup to socialize, it’s also a great place for you to meet other pet owners. When your dog runs up to a particularly cute human, you can use it as an opportunity to have a conversation with them, and say something like, “I think they like you!”
If things go well, you can propose a puppy playdate or another dog park meet-up. You can also tell them to follow your dog’s Instagram account.
Especially in a place like New York City, where everybody’s on a mission to get somewhere, you may not want to strike up a conversation on the subway. But if you do see a cutie at your station or sitting in the train car you hopped on, talk to them. Sit nearby and ask them about the book they’re reading or about the university on their sweatshirt.
It’s a race against time, since you’re not sure when they’re getting off. However, if it’s meant to be, you might be able to grab their number and see them again — this time in a non-public transportation setting.
Have you ever watched Set It Up on Netflix? The two main characters set up their bosses at a Yankees game, and they end up dating for quite some time after they’re caught by the Kiss Cam. The interns also connect over foam fingers and home runs, proving that a sporting event can be a great place to meet someone.
The key is to walk into the stadium planning to have a good time, whether you meet someone or not. Then, when you get to your seat, take a casual look around to see who’s in the area. If you get up to order food, do the same when you’re waiting in line, and see if there’s anyone who you’d like to talk to about the latest play.
Imagine this: You’re stretching on the treadmill, and a cute person walks up to the one next to you. They start using the machine, while you move onto an ab workout on a mat nearby. By the time they finish their run, you’ve made eye contact and smiled a few times, and they’ve smiled back. What are you waiting for?
At that moment, introduce yourself. Don’t wait for them to walk into the locker room, never to be seen again. Ask if they’re going to school in the area, or if they’ve ever tried the classes the gym offers. Worst comes to worst, you’ve made a new gym friend that you can wave at from the top of the StairMaster.
There’s plenty of downtime at an airport, meaning there’s plenty of time to meet someone. If you get to your gate and see someone cute, be sure to set up shop nearby. If they don’t look busy, ask them about what they’re doing when they reach the destination, where the food court is, or if they travel often.
If you studied abroad in college, you can chat with them about your experiences and learn all about their bucket list, too. Who knows? You might even run into a “small world” situation, where they know a person you’ve traveled with in the past or a restaurant in Italy that you swore was off the beaten path.
Standing in the cereal aisle doesn’t sound super romantic. But, if you come across a stir fry kit or box of pierogi that looks tasty in a potential crush’s cart, it can be a great talking point. You can ask them where they picked it up, and chat about the different recipes you like to make.
“Don't simply put on blinders as you go from point A to point B completing the errands of your day,” says Winter. You never know who’s around you, and might give you butterflies. It’s worth looking up, observing the people in your area, and approaching a person who’s giving you a good vibe.
Art classes are pretty intimate, if you think about it. You’re recreating a photograph of a place you love on a canvas, or putting your mediocre painting skills out there in an attempt to get better. The person next to you is likely in the same boat and possibly even willing to talk about their work.
You can chat with them about what you’re painting or the art class you took in high school that may or may not have stuck with you. Art classes are usually about an hour long, so you have plenty of time to dive into topics like sports, food, and the DIY corner of TikTok, too.
If movies taught you anything, it’s that you can absolutely meet someone while on a vacation. You could be staying at a beach resort or a hotel in the city and run into someone in the lobby. There could be a cutie in your surfing lesson or snorkeling excursion.
Right away, you’ll have an experience to bond over which is a major perk. You can plan to meet up at the beach the next day, or a restaurant that’s known for their sushi. Taking things to the next level may be similar to Bachelor in Paradise, since you may live on different coasts or go to different schools. So, if your relationship really grows on vacation, be sure to have those tougher conversations about the “real world” before you head home.
Anyone who’s interested in art and history may want to head to a museum to find a potential love interest. While standing in front of a painting by Van Gogh, Monet, or Picasso, you may serendipitously start talking to a cutie sitting on the bench nearby. They may have thoughts on the piece and really stimulate you... intellectually, of course.
In a relationship, being intellectually stimulated by your partner can be really important. It can push you to grow and think differently about the world. Of course, the cutie on the bench may not be an academic, too. They may just have a sense of humor that you really appreciate, which is still a #win.
Going to a music festival and meeting someone is like sending a crush a playlist they really like: a dating game-changer. That’s because most people have an emotional connection to the music they listen to and are willing to belt out the lyrics with any other fan. You can have a moment with someone during your favorite artist’s set or bond with them back at a hotel if you’re staying in the same place.
Just be careful, friends. At the end of the day, you’re still meeting up with a stranger. Winter says to watch and observe before approaching your potential crush. “Your instincts may be sharper than online because you can see them IRL,” she says, “but remember, you still don't know them.”
As an adult, you can join all kinds of adult sport leagues and participate in them after work. There are leagues for baseball, kickball, and even bowling, and after a while, you and your team can get pretty close. You may find yourself crushing on a particular person that you didn’t even know before and chatting with them on the sidelines.
If you get closer, ask for their number or see if they want to grab a bite after your next match. At the very least, you know you’ll be able to talk strategy and about the mutual connections you have on your team.
Calling all photographers! This one's for you. Find a photography workshop, trip, or meet-up you can attend on social media. Plan to go with a creative BFF or by yourself if you’re feeling adventurous and comfortable with doing so. While you’re in your element, take a glance around the space to see if there’s anyone you’re interested in.
You can ask to be their model or vice versa, or you can ask them for shooting pointers. Start by following each other on Instagram and then work your way to texting... and maybe more.
Climate Change Rally
The purpose of a climate change rally is to, of course, fight for the future of the planet. But in the midst of pushing for better policies and making signs, you may be able to find someone you’re interested in. Together, you may be able to talk about the issue of climate change, the activists you look up to, and the other issues you care about.
Going forward, you could meet up to make more signs, ask for petition signatures, or plan the next rally. You could also inspire each other to stay involved and be each other’s rock in a way, especially when things feel like they’re too overwhelming to take on.
Feeling sporty? Head to the driving range to hit some balls and find yourself someone to fall in love with. While you’re setting up for the next swing, you may be able to give someone else pointers. They might just be a really interesting person to talk to or someone who’s energy matches yours.
Plus, if all goes well, you can invite them on a mini golfing date next in order to string the two “dates” together. Talk about a hole in one!
As Winter says, finding someone can simply be about following your passions and doing what you love. This can include checking items off your bucket list, like learning how to sail. While you’re learning the different terms — and what to do if your boat “turtles” — you might feel a connection with your instructor or someone else in the class.
The key is to not push it. Be yourself, and see what happens when you try and strike up a convo when you’re back on the land.
Gathering With Mutual Friends
Your friends know what your type is, so they may be able to connect you with someone else when you’re all hanging out. They may be able to invite you and another cutie to a picnic in the park or an afternoon of video games. The pressure to keep a conversation going will be off, because you’re in the company of people you both know.
Still wondering, “Where are the single men near me?” While there are plenty of ways to meet men or women IRL if you just deleted your dating apps, these places are some of the best for the meet-cute of your dreams. Now get out there and go meet some cute singles!
Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.
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