How To Find Events And Clubs In Your Community
I find most communities have way more going on in them than you may think at first. Even when you believe you've found everything there is to find, you'll continue to discover even more and be surprised at how much you missed. There are clubs and leagues to join, classes to take, one-off events and shows to attend, and obscure attractions and hiking trails to visit. It can take some skill to uncover them all.
There are several benefits to being good at finding things that are going on in your city or town. First, if you're looking for places to meet people, it will help you find them. Next, it will give you lots of ideas for things you could possibly do when you make plans with current or potential friends. Lastly, it can just be a way to uncover fun experiences you wouldn't have known about otherwise.
Below are the ways I've had success finding out what's going on where I live. Depending on the size of the place you live in, you'll have to change the range of your search area. If you live in a gigantic city you may want to limit things to just the downtown, or your general area. If you live in a really small town you could look within your several-town region.
This is a logical place to start. You can search for things like:
- (your city) event listings
- (your city) dance lessons
- (your city) softball leagues
- (your neighborhood) bridge clubs
- (your town) volunteer opportunities
- (your city) concert venues
- (your city) mini-putt
Basically, for anything you're interested in you can have a look and see what's out there. On Google a map will often come up with the results too, showing you where various locations are within your town.
One thing I've found is that if you do a search and don't get any results, don't give up right away, and try searching using somewhat different terms. Another thing is that the more types of hobbies and interests you're aware of and actually open to taking part in, the more you'll be able to search for. Like, if someone's doesn't know anything about stand-up comedy, they wouldn't think to see what comedy clubs and open mic nights are going on in town.
Weekly alternative papers
In many large and mid-sized cities you can get free weekly papers, which usually have a liberal or alternative bent. They usually have good concert and local Events & Activities listings. The same information should be on the paper's site as well.
Walking around your city
I find that people can walk around an area all the time, but they won't notice certain things unless they have a reason to look for them. Like someone could live in a neighborhood for three years and never really register that the main street has a frame shop, until they need to get something framed and then suddenly that store pops out at them. So walk around your area with an eye for finding possible things to do. You may find you never really noticed that second floor dance studio, or that community center, or that art store which offers lessons every Tuesday night. Also, walk around sections of your neighborhood that you haven't been to. Sometimes there's really interesting stuff hiding down the side streets.
The websites of venues that hold events
Here I'm talking about auditoriums, concert halls, sports arenas, art galleries, and convention centers. Some less obvious candidates are organizations that normally focus on other things, but every so often they'll hold events like concert or speaker series. You'll need to use your searching skills to figure out what these venues are in the first place. Once you go on their sites you can get a sense of the big events that are coming down the pipeline in the next few months.
Start paying attention to flyers and bulletin boards
Some things seem to get advertised through postings and flyers and in no other way. If you start paying attention to this stuff you can stumble across some fun events. You may look at a poster on a telephone pole and find out that a comedian you like is doing a small show in a venue you've never heard of. You could glance at a bulletin board at the entrance to the local library and learn that a nearby movie theater is holding a horror film festival. While walking home a flyer advertising an upcoming roller derby match may catch your eye.
Your university's listing of clubs, teams, and organizations
You probably know about this one, but if you're in university you should be able to find a list of all of the school's official clubs and teams. Your school may even have an office where you can talk to someone and find out what's going on on your campus. There are also organizations like student associations, the school newspaper, or the LGBTQ center that aren't exactly clubs, but you could also look into.
Community center or community agency websites
These will obviously list classes and events the community center itself is holding, but they may list general things are going on in your city too.
Libraries don't hold a ton of events, but they sometimes have stuff going on. They do tend to have bulletin boards where you can learn about other activities going on in the area.
Your town's official website
If you do a Google search you can hopefully find the official website for the town or city you live in. It should have a calendar of events, mentioning, for example, a Jazz festival or RibFest that comes to town every summer. They may link to their network of neighborhood community centers too.
Bars, restaurants, and cafes
Some of these places will hold special events on their slower nights, as a way to drum up business. One restaurant/club might offer free introductory salsa lessons every Wednesday evening. A pub might have a weekly trivia night that attracts a different type of crowd than usual.
Craigslist and similar sites
Craigslist has a Community section with listings for things like Groups, Activities, Events, Volunteers, and Classes. Depending on where you live, a another site, like Kijiji, may be the one everyone uses instead.
Sites like Meetup.com
The whole point of Meetup.com and sites like it are to list various social and activity groups. Not much more to say than that.
If you live in a larger city you may be able to find out about some unknown events or attractions from a travel guide that's devoted to it. It may seem weird that you'd have to read a tourist book to find out about things going on in the place where you live, but if you're like a lot of people you've got your daily routine, and the sections of the city you frequent often, and you may be oblivious to things going on outside of your bubble.
Through a specific organization's website
For certain interests you can go to a central website and be pointed to relevant events going on in your community. For example, if you were a member of Toastmasters and recently moved to a new area, you could go on their site and find listings of local clubs to join.
Following venues on sites like Facebook or Twitter
These days most venues have a Facebook page that you can 'Like' and follow to be notified of upcoming events. For example, a club may announce special nights or live acts that are coming to play there. If privacy is a concern you could always make a dummy account that you only use for this purpose. Some venues may announce things through Twitter as well.
People you know
Sometimes you'll search, search, search on your own for things to do, not find much that's to your liking, and then a friend or co-worker will mention something you never would have found out about yourself. "Wait, what? There's a local dodgeball league for twenty-somethings, and everyone always goes out for drinks after?!?" Some events just aren't advertised that much and people mainly find out about them through word of mouth.