Unlike other cities, Los Angeles’ vast sprawl is harder to navigate via its public transport system and can be overwhelming. Large distances between areas and congested traffic can make it trickier to travel around, especially solo. These hurdles can also make it more challenging to make new friends in Los Angeles.
A recent YouGov US survey revealed a loneliness epidemic in the city among Millennials, finding that 30% of those interviewed expressed always or often feeling lonely. On top of this, 27% revealed they didn’t have any close friends. And, according to a recent census, a third of households consist of just one person. So it’s critical to know how to seek out new friendships and avoid these feelings of loneliness in California’s La La Land.
The good news is there are plenty of options. Hiking is a popular pastime in the city, with a wide variety of walking groups available to join. Sports leagues are a fun way of meeting people too. And while they sound serious, you can actually find some geared more towards fun than ferocious competition. There are also plenty of regular free events, such as star-gazing at the Griffith Observatory.
How to meet new people in Los Angeles
Los Angeles’s vast expanse isn’t the easiest to navigate, with places spread out and a transport system that can be unreliable and congested. But, with the right intel, it’s possible to head straight for the hangouts that will guarantee a different experience and open up the opportunity to meet others. There are the classic walking tours of particular areas, including the original Hollywood tour that takes you to the sign and past celebrity homes. There are also endless classes in which to meet other like-minded souls.
Hiking in LA is a right of passage as one of the city’s most popular pastimes. And, with year-round good weather, you’ll find the perfect climate to get out and test your mettle on the various inclines. Runyon Canyon Park sits below the Hollywood Hills and is one of the busiest spots for hikers, making it ideal territory to meet other walkers. From the east, you’ll see Griffith Observatory and, on a clear day, from the west you’ll see the Pacific Ocean. And, if you’re lucky, a Hollywood star or two. Griffith Park has a 53-mile trail network so there are plenty of routes to take. However, most people start at the Observatory and head for Mount Hollywood, the highest peak in the park, and views down into the LA basin. Or AllTrails has over 100 different trails to test run in the Los Angeles area.
Adult sports leagues
While joining a sports league might sound competitive and intimidating, there are actually lots of fun options set up more for the social aspect rather than the performance (although, that is still important). Clubwaka has locations across the city, with options from bowling to kickball. They also end all their sessions with an after party in a bar, utilising that time for connections to be formed. Pickleball, a racket sport that incorporates elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis, is played across LA. There are lots of clubs you can join but the LA Pickle Club offers free taster sessions at the Riverside Drive location near the Warner Bros Studios.
Free events are a fail safe way of meeting people; you’ve all turned up interested in the same thing for starters. But most attendees are also interested in meeting others and making connections over shared interests. Every month the Griffith Observatory hosts a public star party with telescopes spread across the lawn for visitors to freely stargaze. Scores of people line up to get a look and the sighting of constellations normally turns into conversation. There are free festivals throughout the year with street food, performers and live music, such as Culver City Art Walk and Roll Festival and the Santa Monica Pier 360 Beach Sports Summer Festival.
Join a class
Finding a class that piques your interest is a sure fire way of meeting other like-minded solos. And with people wanting to constantly better their skill set, learn new things or just get out and do something different, there are endless options. US-based Classpop has everything from cooking and dance to art and photography. There are also quirkier options for the more experimental. The Museum of Neon Art has classes in bending neon and designing your own, while Tac-Tile Mountain has incense-making tutorials. And, of course, fitness is the holy grail in LA, with an abundance of gym classes, from your classic Soul Cycle to the more intriguing Hoopnotica in Venice Beach.
Meet up groups
Meet up groups are a really easy way to meet other like-minded people as you’re all there for the same reason. Meet Up is a great platform for finding mixed gatherings in your area, such as Los Angeles Social Meet Up group or South Bay Walking and Hiking group in Torrence who also kayak and and standup paddleboard. Bestie Brunch was set up to bring women in the city together. And, of course, Flash Pack host regular Solo Cities events, bringing together people in their 30s and 40s.
Volunteering options are aplenty in Los Angeles, from helping out at homeless shelters to cultural institutions to animal shelters. Not only will you be doing something good, you’ll also have a chance to meet other noble souls. You can sign up through the LA County Volunteer website who have opportunities across many of their services, from parks and recreation to legal services. Lets Volunteer LA has an easy search function to help you find a cause that interests you most in your area. LA Works also let you choose via availability and type of opportunity. Or, if you prefer something more creative, Arts for LA often need help at their pop-ups and events.
Best areas to meet new people in Los Angeles
Los Angeles County has over 400 neighbourhoods, making it a complex task to whittle down the best areas to meet other like-minded people in their 30s and 40s. There are pros and cons to many areas, such as public transport issues or distance from downtown, but a few tick all the boxes. Here are the five best areas in Los Angeles to make friends.
Los Feliz sits to the west of Glendale and incorporates (1) Griffith Park, the city’s largest, and Observatory. A hip and creative enclave, it’s the type of place you’ll pass people hiking with a freshly squeezed juice in hand. And hiking they do. With an extensive network of trails, it’s one of the most popular spots in LA for getting out into the great outdoors. Beyond the hills, you’ll find a slew of independent coffee shops, boutiques and restaurants in the village, all serving up something different from the rest of the city. (2) Alcove is a breakfast, brunch and dinner spot, wine and cocktail bar and artisan bakery with alfresco dining. (3) Pinkys’ is a buzzing bar with DJs playing until the small hours.
South of Los Feliz and close to the Dodger Stadium is Echo Park, an area that attracts young creatives to the burgeoning social scene. From dive bars to trendy eateries to cool cafes, there’s enough in the small neighbourhood to not have to venture far to make friends. You’ll find myriad bars and restaurants clustered along its section of Sunset Boulevard. Bar Henry is a cocktail bar with DJs, Barbini is a natural wine bar with grapes on tap, while (4) Lowboy Bar is a dim lit burger and cocktail bar that prides itself on creating a sense of community. (5) The Semi-Tropic on Glendale Boulevard is a hybrid couch-by-day, cocktails-by-night kind of vibe. For nature lovers, (6) Echo Park and its lake are at the centre of the area. There are walking paths, a cafe and a small area with a beach at the southern part of the lake you can, if you’re brave enough, swim in.
Completing the affable area triangle, Northeast LA’s Highland Park sits just to the east of Echo Park. It’s one of the neighbourhoods that has seen substantial growth and change over recent years, making it popular with those in their 30s and 40s. Hip bars and bistros have sprung up alongside long-standing taquerias on York Boulevard, the main thoroughfare. (7) Barcade, a popular arcade bar, has a free-to-enter pinball league one day a week that’s a great social opener for those looking to meet other like-minded people. (8) Dunsmoor in Glassell Park serves wood-fired American dishes and hosts wine-pairing dinner events. Former music venue (9) Highland Park Bowl has lounge-worthy leather Chesterfield sofas, freshly cooked pizzas and craft beers, all great conversation openers.
Culver City in west Los Angeles is a great spot for accessing all that LA has to offer. It’s close to the beach locations of Marina Del Rey, Venice and Santa Monica and is on the Metro E Line, which stretches from Santa Monica to Union Station in Downtown LA. Once known solely for being the home of some of the city’s biggest film studios, such as MGM and Sony Pictures, its seen a much improved renaissance. Media and tech companies like Apple TV and Tik Tok have brought a young professional crowd that’s in turn upped the ante on the area’s offerings. New bars, restaurants and art galleries have all sprung up. Try the food stalls at (10) Citizen Public Market before staying for a comedy or trivia night; (11) Platform is a small mall of independent shops, coffee houses and eateries and hosts events and an artisan market; while (12) Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook is the area’s main hiking trail.
Top five venues in Los Angeles to meet new people
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Along a section of Wiltshire Boulevard in west LA known as ‘Museum Mile’, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art occupies a large chunk of it. With permanent collections from the likes of Picasso and Cezanne to pop-up exhibitions from art to sculptures. For a small annual fee, you can become a member which not only comes with free entry but gives access to member previews and select days of member-only after hours viewings. You’ll also be able to attend lectures and receive invites to events, meaning the chance to meet the same people regularly and spark up new friendships is high.
Trivia nights are a popular pastime in LA with bars hosting them throughout the week, and some on weekends. And, turning up alone isn’t a bad thing as often people will ask if you want to join their team. Mountain roadhouse-style bar Bigfoot Lodge East near Culver City has a free trivia night, with spaces reserved for solo quizzers to band together at the bar. Wild Parrot Brewing Company in Pasadena host a weekly trivia night, as well as a running club and paint and sip nights. While Lawless Brewing Co in North Hollywood host a weekly pub quiz in their taproom (and weekly bingo sessions, book club and night market) for those wanting to meet like-minded people.
Hiking in Los Angeles is sacrosanct and rightfully so. With well over 100 hiking trails across numerous parks and national recreation areas, there’s endless opportunity to spend your days chewing the fat in the great outdoors with fellow nature enthusiasts. From the Santa Monica Mountains with over 500 miles of trails to shorter, easier hikes in Griffith Park, there are hikes for every ability, too. But, walking alone can be isolating if those you pass en route don’t have time to or don’t wish to stop for a chat. Joining one of the multitude of hiking groups across the city is a perfect way to get out, get exercise and meet others. L.A Hike Club was set up to offer fun social hikes and offer regular locations across the city.
While a cocktail bar might seem more a date night venue, Apothéke in Chinatown, close to the Los Angeles State Historic Park and river, is one with a difference. Firstly, you don’t have to spend the night alone. Sign up for a night at the academy and you’ll learn to be a mixologist with other equally-minded souls. Or, find a spot in the bar and order one of their conversation starter cocktails, grouped into categories for their natural medicinal benefits. From the High Plains Drifter with toasted barley, agave nectar and flamed absinthe rinse that acts as a painkiller to The Bounceback with Earl Grey with gin, bee pollen and Red Bell pepper that ignites euphoria, there’s something to get everyone talking.
Eating alone can be intimidating for a variety of reasons; the worry of having to pass time waiting for courses or questioning what other diners are thinking. But, push yourself beyond your comfort zone and it can be a wholly liberating experience. Some restaurants are better catered for solo diners than others so it’s about finding the right setting, ambience and crowd in which to conquer it with. And, chances are, you’ll have more chance squeezing into busy restaurants than if you need more than one bar stool. Wife and the Somm in Glassell Park is a cosy wine bar with a menu that pairs the wines for you, meaning you look confident with your order from one of the bar stools perfect for eating alone.
Is it easy to make friends in Los Angeles?
Forming new friendships can be overwhelming in any city but in Los Angeles, the vast distances between neighbourhoods can make it even trickier. But, knowing where to base yourself to find like-minded people can completely change your experience. With events, social meet ups and active group activities across over 100 neighbourhoods, there’s more than enough opportunity to make friends in Los Angeles.
For those still nervous of venturing out alone, group solo events are a superb alternative. Flash Pack’s Solo Cities events include house parties regularly hosted in city hotel apartments and bring together like-minded people wanting to meet new friends. Events are currently hosted in London, Los Angeles and New York, with more to follow. Ticket prices include the event, games, an open bar and snacks – new friendships are free.
Is Los Angeles fun to visit alone?
Los Angeles can be intimidating to visit alone if you don’t know where to go to make the most of its boundless energy and size. It’s best to hone in on a particular spot as lovely communities form across the large array of neighbourhoods. From hip bars and restaurants to wonderful hiking spots popular with solo walkers to art, comedy and museum events that make the perfect friendship openers for like-minded folk.
Flash Pack’s Solo Cities events cater for a range of interests and appeal to those wanting to make new connections but not really knowing how. They are about reclaiming cities for those in their 30s and 40s venturing out alone, bringing solos in rather than making people feel excluded. Events cater to different interests, from social dining to comedy events to house parties. And, with a carefully curated guest list, you’ll be hard pressed to come away from the night without at least one new What’s App contact or social follow.
Flash Pack is a group travel company that specialises in small group adventures for solo travellers in their 30s and 40s. Find out more about how we work, and our mission to build a global community of friendships.