Meet Local Singles

Women's Dating

7 (Free) Ways to Meet Local Singles

Hayley Matthews

Written by: Hayley Matthews

Hayley Matthews

Hayley has over 10 years of experience overseeing content strategy, social media engagement, and article opportunities. She has also written hundreds of informational and entertaining blog posts. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Bustle, Cosmo, the Huffington Post, AskMen, and Entrepreneur. When she's not writing about dating news, relationship advice, or her fantasy love affair with Leonardo DiCaprio, she enjoys listening to The Beatles, watching Harry Potter reruns, and drinking IPAs.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles and reports have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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With Americans spending an average of 47 hours a week at work, meeting local singles can be hard. Sometimes you’re so tired after a long day, the last thing you want to do is go to a crowded bar and shell out a bunch of money for drinks or apps — all in the hopes of meeting a person who might be somewhat attractive and interesting.

Staying home is much easier — not to mention free — but that’s no way to meet people. Your next date isn’t going to knock on the door, interrupt your Netflix or Hulu binge, and sweep you off your feet. You’re going to have to be proactive in the dating scene and make something happen, so I’ve put together a list of ways to meet local singles online and in real life. Go get ’em!

1. Online Dating Sites & Apps

Online dating is the easiest and best way to meet local singles, hands down. According to recent studies, over half of American singles have tried using dating sites or apps to meet people, and there are so many top-rated dating platforms to choose from — most of which allow you to search for potential matches by zip code and distance radius of up to 100 miles.

A lot of dating sites and apps also offer free trials or free memberships that include helpful search tools and instant messaging. Here are some of our top picks for single men and women:

Match: The Best Overall Dating Website

With its large user base (over 13.5 million visits a month), unbeatable reputation (has led to more dates, relationships, and marriages than any other dating site), and all-inclusive free trial, Match is my favorite free site to meet local singles.

★★★★★
Match.com 4.8/5.0

Our expert ratings are based on factors such as popularity, usability, value, and success rate of each site.

4.8/5.0

Relationships: Friends, Dates, and Relationships

Match System: Browse by zip, age, appearance, more

Our Experts Say: “Match has facilitated the most dates and relationships of any dating site, and its large audience and high success rate make it our top review...” Full Review »

Browse Free: View Photos Now

Match is just the best. Not only does the local dating site have the specific search filters you’re looking for, but it also has features like being able to see who’s online now. Daters can also chat for free on Match if they’re in each other’s Top Picks list, meaning this potential match has a lot of common ground.

You really can’t go wrong on this personality-driven and relationship-oriented dating website (and its companion dating app). Match has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from the world’s leading dating service.

Zoosk: A Go-To Dating App

Zoosk is a fun dating app to meet local singles, particularly because it’s integrated with Facebook and other social media platforms. This makes it easy to sign up, upload your info, and find a new person who is available and near you.

★★★★★
Zoosk 4.5/5.0

Our expert ratings are based on factors such as popularity, usability, value, and success rate of each site.

4.5/5.0

Relationships: Fun Dates, Serious Relationships

Match System: Search and get match recommendations

Our Experts Say: “Zoosk is integrated with social media sites, like Facebook and Google+, so it's very popular with singles on the go...” Full Review »

Browse Free: View Photos Now

When you log into Zoosk, you’ll find a world of romance waiting for you. The dating site and app has over 40 million members worldwide, and it’s always growing.

Zoosk is a great place for connecting with local single women and men who share similar interests. Plus, the free dating site has some communication options available to all basic members, so a new person can interact with a potential date — all without having to whip out a credit card or wallet

BeNaughty: Great for Hookups

If you’re looking for a casual hookup, BeNaughty is one of my top picks. You can browse profiles in any town for free, and everyone is on the same page — no need to feel bad for being straightforward about your desires.

★★★★
BeNaughty 3.9/5.0

Our expert ratings are based on factors such as popularity, usability, value, and success rate of each site.

3.9/5.0

Relationships: Hookups, Chats

Match System: Search by encounter, location, and more

Our Experts Say: “BeNaughty is a premier hookup app where you can feel comfortable expressing your desires. Plus, it's free to join, browse, and flirt...” Full Review »

Browse Free: View Photos Now

BeNaughty is a local hookup site with no pretenses or inhibitions. You can find a sexual playmate by using the search or swipe tools, and any woman who uploads a photo to BeNaughty can chat for free as long as she likes.

2. Through Family, Friends, or Co-Workers

Whether it’s your mom, best friend, or HR manager, probably everyone in your life knows at least one single person they could introduce you to. It doesn’t cost any money to meet singles through people you know in real life. And it should be pretty easy to ask for a suggestion for a potential date. Plus, they know you and what you’re looking for in a date, so they’ll be able to find that right person, taking the hard work off your shoulders.

Once they do set you up with someone, just focus on having fun — it doesn’t have to be anything more than that. Instead of putting pressure on the date to be perfect, enjoy getting to know someone new. If it works out, great. If it doesn’t, you’ve made a new friend who may know a person who would be a better match. See, it’s a chain reaction.

3. Pick Up a Hobby

From painting to sports to cooking to writing, there are tons of groups out there that offer activities for free. You can either find a new hobby or get better at one you’re already interested in.

The best place to find these local groups is Meetup.com, whose whole goal is to bring neighbors together “to learn something, do something, share something.” Just like the dating sites, Meetup is ideal for connecting singles with common interests. The website lets you pick your preferred location and activity, so you can narrow the search down as much as you want. People can also post events where only singles are invited, so keep an eye out for those.

If Meetup isn’t your thing, you could also just Google something like “free cooking classes New York City,” and you’ll see a bunch of results from sites like Yelp and Groupon.

4. Parties

When I say “parties,” I don’t necessarily mean all-night ragers or anything like that. A party could be a wild lou shindig, or it could be a backyard barbecue, house-warming, or game night. It’s OK if you aren’t a big partier because small gatherings like these are still good for meeting people. You also actually get to talk to the person and hear what they’re saying — something you can’t really do in a loud club.

Get into “Yes Man” mode and go to as many parties as possible when invited. Believe me, it works. I met my last boyfriend at a party that I didn’t want to go to, but I made myself, had an awesome time, and ended up dating him for the next several years.

5. Community Events

There are free events going on in your city or town all the time — you just have to know how to find them. Again, our trusty friend Google comes in handy. Typing in “free things to do in [enter your city]” will bring up so many options (e.g., music and art festivals, gallery openings, and museum exhibits) that you could fill up your social calendar for the rest of your life and still not get to them all.

Eventbrite is a good resource for finding out about concerts, farmers markets, food truck rallies, yoga classes, and other community events hosted in real life.

You can also check on Facebook to find out about parties, shows, meetups, and festivals happening nearby, and you have the benefit of seeing whether any of your Facebook friends are attending and could possibly be your wingman or wingwoman.

6. Volunteering

Volunteering provides the best opportunity for meeting local singles who share your same values. You also get to do something nice for your community, and who doesn’t love that?

Let’s say you really love animals. You could spend a Saturday at your local Humane Society helping dogs and cats find their forever home — while also interacting with the people looking to adopt or care for animals.

If you’re passionate about LGBTQ activism, organizations like The Human Rights Campaign hold fundraisers and rallies all the time. It’s easier to start a conversation with new local singles and eventually ask them out if you’re both in the middle of doing something that you’re passionate about.

7. Church

For religious or spiritual people, going to church is a fantastic option for meeting like-minded singles, and it doesn’t just have to be a Sunday service either. Most churches and religious organizations do bible studies or other group classes — some geared particularly toward Christian singles — on a regular basis. Churches also have social activities going on several times a month. These can be a lot of fun, and the people are very welcoming as well.

If dating or marrying a real person who has the same religious or spiritual beliefs is important to you (or even a deal-breaker), the church is a great place that will help you find that person. A quick search like “religious organizations near me” should help.

Pick Your Favorite & Get Out There!

It doesn’t have to be so hard to meet local singles if you know where to go and how to spark conversations. While it may take some research and preparation beforehand, meeting people on a local dating app, in social environments, or at dating venues is as simple as saying hello.

Equipped with these 7 ideas for where to meet local singles (for free, too), all you have to do is choose the one that works best for you and head out the door. Now what are you waiting for? Your perfect match is waiting for you!

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