Making New Friends in the Windy City
Moving to Beantown, as with many cities, brings about a whole slew of questions. “Where am I going to get groceries?” “What should I do with the extra money I would’ve spent on rent if I moved to NYC?” “Where should I start hanging out?”
The main question on any newcomer’s mind, however, is the same question that floods the mind of any city transplant: “How do I make friends here?” The rush of the city can be a lot to handle alone, especially in the colder months, and a platonic companion can go a long way.
You’re in luck, too. All sorts of creative, active, entrepreneurial, and otherwise eclectic personalities find their way here all the time, and they’re looking for friends just like you. Here’s where you can find them!
If you really love your new home, you’ll probably have a great time volunteering your time to make it a better place for everyone. You might also want to hang out with people who feel the same way, and volunteering is the perfect activity to check those boxes.
You can gift the youth of tomorrow with knowledge that’ll help them for life. You can offer food to those that need it most. You can clean the streets & make the surroundings that much more beautiful. Whatever cause you want to dedicate yourself to, you can find it in Chicago
There are quite a few charitable organizations & nonprofits spread across the city, and it might be tough to get a full sense of what’s out there, which is why Chicago Cares is an excellent resource for those looking to find a cause they want to support.
Join a Book Club!
You might be thinking of your mom & 15 of her friends gathered in the living room talking about an old romance novel, but group literary adventures don’t have to be so stuffy.
Want to talk about a culinary tale that captured your imagination and taste buds? Never let go of your love for the YA classics when you hit adulthood? Focusing on the spiritual side of things? There’s a group waiting to bring you into the fold, and they can become your new best friends.
There are many listings of clubs you can find online, and one of our favorites we discovered was a collection of them that all meet at The Book Cellar on Lincoln Avenue.
If the first thing that appeared in your mind looked like a white guy with an acoustic guitar or the worst comic you’ve ever heard, we understand & forgive you.
Open mic performers might look silly on stage, but the reality is they want to show what they’ve got to the world, no matter how good or bad they are, and no matter how people will end up responding. There’s something to be admired about that, in our humble opinion.
If you feel the same, you might want to get up on stage with them. People performing at these venues are known to bond with each other over the struggles of trying to make it, and those struggles are that much sweeter with friends at your site.
You might want to get some instruction before hitting the stage, even if you’ve got the most confidence in the room. For those looking for guidance in the comedic arts, the world-renowned Second City offers all sorts of classes to people looking to learn the ropes of the craft.
It’ll help you knock ‘em dead on stage with the added benefit of introducing you to other aspiring comics. Whether they want to do it as a hobby or a career, comedians form tight bonds with each other to face the perils of the industry, and they can make for an active social life.
There are some other places that offer instruction as well, but it’s hard to beat the place that birthed Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Bill Murray, and a boatload of other renowned comics & personalities.
Looking to outdo the white guy with the guitar on the open mic stage instead? The Old Town School of Folk Music was established to help you do exactly that (well, not exactly that, but they help you get better at playing music.)
Guitar lessons are what made them great, but they also offer ensemble lessons across all sorts of genres, focusing on a variety of instruments. They also host open jam sessions, where you can join & play your heart out as long as you bring an instrument.
Maybe you’ll meet them in class, or see them mid-jam, but you’ll be pretty likely to find a new friend amongst the good people of Old Town.
It could very well be that you’ve always considered yourself more of a jock. No worries, you won’t be wanting for friends either once you find the right place.
“But where is that?” You’re probably wondering. A sports league, of course! No longer reserved for the youths, Chicagoans now have the option of joining a motley assortment of teams, whether you want to play volleyball, kickball, ping pong, floor hockey, or virtually anything else.
If nothing else on this list really appealed to you, or if you’ve got a specific activity in mind that you’d want to find people through, Meetup.com is your answer.
Other groups link up based on demographics & interests, with some advertised meetups focused at stay-at-home moms, black millenials, folks that made it past 50, and queer people with an interest in technology.
The point is, you’ll be able to do whatever it is you want to do, and you’ll be able to find some new friends to enjoy your new home with.